Income/Poverty – Fast Facts

All health care fast facts are from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Although they represent some of their most recent reports on this subject, they do not represent all of their reports on this subject. Occasionally minor word adjustments may have been made for clarity or to reflect the updated nature of the statement. As always, verify and view statements in their full context as often as possible.

Among the race groups, Asian households had the highest median income in 2008 ($65,637), followed by non-Hispanic White ($55,530) and Black households ($34,218).  Hispanic households had a median income of $37,913.  Verify at Page 8
The long-run increase in income inequality is related to the Nation’s labor market and its household composition.  The wage distribution has become considerably more unequal with more highly skilled, trained, and educated workers at the top experiencing real wage gains and those at the bottom real wage losses.   Verify at Page 3
Since 2007, the number of men working full time, year round with earnings decreased by 6.6 million, and the number of women working full time, year round with earnings decreased by 2.8 million.  Verify at Page 13
The precise reasons for the rapid growth in income at the top are not well understood, though researchers have offered several potential rationales, including technical innovations that have changed labor market for superstars, changes in the governance and structure of executive compensation, increases in firms’ size and complexity, and the increasing scale of financial-sector activities.  Verify at Page 3
In 1997, real median income of U.S. households returned to the peak reached in 1989, the year before the most recent recessionary period (lasting from July 1990 to March 1991).  U.S. households began their recovery in median household income in 1995 and since then have experienced significant annual increases in their income.  Verify at Page V of Highlights
The equalizing effect of (government) transfers and taxes on household income was smaller in 2007 than it had been in 1979.  The distribution of transfers shifted, however, moving away from households in the lower part of the income scale.  In 1979, households in the bottom quintile received more than 50 percent of (government) transfer payments.  In 2007, similar households received about 35 percent of transfers.  That shift reflects the growth in spending for programs focused on the elderly population (such as Social Security and Medicare), in which benefits are not limited to low-income households.  Verify at Page 4
The income and poverty estimates shown in Census Bureau report are based solely on money income before taxes and do not include the value of noncash benefits, such as nutritional assistance, Medicare, Medicaid, public-housing, and employer-provided fringe benefits.  Verify at Page 2
Since 1947, the Census Bureau has employed a commonly used measure, the Gini coeffecient to measure family income inequality.  With two exceptions, the Gini coefficient decreased between 1947 and 1968.  During this period, the Gini for families indicated a decrease in income inequality.   Since 1968, however, this trend has reversed.  Income inequality for families, measured by the Gini coefficient, increased between 1968 and 1998.  Verify at Page 1
Between 2006 and 2007, real median household income rose for non-Hispanic Whites and Blacks but remained statistically unchanged for Asians and Hispanics.  Verify at Page 1
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