STATE LEGISLATURES MAGAZINE
Average Incomes no Longer Falling, but ...
The U.S. median household income fell 6.6 percent, from $55,030 in 2000 to an inflation-adjusted $51,371 last year, Census Bureau figures show. A few states bucked the trend, but 35 saw a statistically significant decrease in the past 12 years. Michigan, the hardest-hit state, experienced a 19 percent skid because of auto industry layoffs. States that thrived include North Dakota and its neighbors, which cashed in on the oil and gas boom, and Maryland, where the national security industry ramped up after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The fall Census report produced two pieces of good news: Last year, for the first time since 2007, median household income didn’t decline, and, the number of men working full time increased by 1 million from 2011.
Census figures also show that 46.5 million Americans lived below the federal poverty line in 2012. That’s 15 percent of the population, 2.5 percentage points more than in 2007.
Median Incomes By The Numbers
U.S. average in 2000
U.S. average in 2012
Average for Asian-Americans, 2012
Average for African-Americans, 2012
Drop in Michigan’s since 2000, the steepest
Rise in North Dakota’s since 2000
Rise in Washington, D.C.'s since 2000
States with decrease of 10 percent or more since 2000
U.S. poverty rate in 2000
U.S. poverty rate in 2012
By Mary Winter