By the Numbers: Income and Poverty, 2019

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• Earnings
Incomes
Poverty
Policy / SPM

This fact sheet provides key numbers from today’s new Census reports, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2019 and The Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2019. Each section has headline statistics from the reports for 2019, as well as comparisons to the previous year, to 2007 (the final year of the economic expansion that preceded the Great Recession), and to 2000 (the historical high point for many of the statistics in these reports). All dollar values are adjusted for inflation (2019 dollars). Because of a redesign in the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC) income questions in 2013, we imputed the historical series using the ratio of the old and new method in 2013. All percentage changes from before 2013 are based on this imputed series. We do not adjust for the break in the series in 2017 due to differences in the legacy CPS ASEC processing system and the updated CPS ASEC processing system, but these differences are small and statistically insignificant in most cases. Also, there are significant concerns about data quality, given the fall in survey response rates. It appears that nonresponse biased income estimates up and poverty statistics down so the actual reported improvement should be taken with a grain of salt.

Earnings

Median annual earnings for men working full time grew 2.1 percent, to $57,456, in 2019. Men’s earnings are up 3.0 percent since 2007, and are 3.6 percent higher than they were in 2000.

Median annual earnings for women working full time grew 3.0 percent, to $47,299, in 2019. Women’s earnings are up 9.0 percent since 2007, and are 15.7 percent higher than they were in 2000.

Median annual earnings for men working full time in 2019: $57,456

Change over time:

  • 2018–2019: 2.1%
  • 2007–2019: 3.0%
  • 2000–2019: 3.6%

Median annual earnings for women working full time in 2019: $47,299

Change over time:

  • 2018–2019: 3.0%
  • 2007–2019: 9.0%
  • 2000–2019: 15.7%

Incomes

Median household income rose 6.8 percent, to $68,703, in 2019. Median household income is up 7.3 percent since 2007, and is 6.5 percent higher than it was in 2000.

Median nonelderly household income rose 6.7 percent, to $77,873, in 2019. Median nonelderly household income is up 8.1 percent since 2007, and is 4.3 percent higher than it was in 2000.

Median household income in 2019: $68,703

Change over time:

  • 2018–2019: 6.8%
  • 2007–2019: 7.3%
  • 2000–2019: 6.5%

Median nonelderly household income in 2019: $77.873

Change over time:

  • 2018–2019: 6.7%
  • 2007–2019: 8.1%
  • 2000–2019: 4.3%

Median household income for white, non-Hispanic households rose 5.7 percent, to $76,057, in 2019. Median household income is up 8.2 percent since 2007, and is 8.2 percent higher than it was in 2000.

Median household income for African American households rose 8.5 percent, to $46,073, in 2019. Median household income is up 6.3 percent since 2007 and is 1.4 percent higher than it was in 2000.

Median household income for Hispanic households rose 7.1 percent, to $56,113, in 2019. Median household income is up 21.1 percent since 2007 and is 17.3 percent higher than it was in 2000.

Median white, non-Hispanic household income in 2019: $76,057

Change over time:

  • 2018–2019: 5.7%
  • 2007–2019: 8.2%
  • 2000–2019: 8.2%

Median African American household income in 2019: $46,073

Change over time:

  • 2018–2019: 8.5%
  • 2007–2019: 6.3%
  • 2000–2019: 1.4%

Median Hispanic household income in 2019: $56,113

Change over time:

  • 2018–2019: 7.1%
  • 2007–2019: 21.1%
  • 2000–2019: 17.3%

Poverty

The poverty rate fell 1.3 percentage points, to 10.5 percent, in 2019. The poverty rate is 2.0 percentage points lower than in 2007. The poverty rate is 0.8 percentage points lower than it was in 2000.

The child poverty rate fell 1.8 percentage points, to 14.4 percent, in 2019. The child poverty rate was also 3.6 percentage points lower in 2019 than it was in 2007 and is 1.8 percentage points below to its 2000 level.

Poverty rate in 2019: 10.5%

Change over time:

  • 2018–2019: -1.3 percentage points
  • 2007–2019: -2.0 percentage points
  • 2000–2019: -0.8 percentage points

Poverty rate for children in 2019: 14.4%

Change over time:

  • 2018–2019: -1.8 percentage points
  • 2007–2019: -3.6 percentage points
  • 2000–2019: -1.8 percentage points

The white, non-Hispanic poverty rate fell 0.8 percentage points, to 7.3 percent, in 2019. The white, non-Hispanic poverty rate is 0.9 percentage points lower than in 2007 and is 0.1 percentage points lower than it was in 2000.

The African American poverty rate fell 2.0 percentage point, to 18.7 percent, in 2019. The African American poverty rate is 5.7 percentage points lower than in 2007 and is now 3.8 percentage points lower than it was in 2000.

The Hispanic poverty rate fell 1.9 percentage points, to 15.7 percent, in 2019. The Hispanic poverty rate is 5.8 percentage points lower than in 2007 and is 5.8 percentage points lower than it was in 2000.

White, non-Hispanic poverty rate in 2019: 7.3%

Change over time:

  • 2018–2019: -0.8 percentage points
  • 2007–2019: -0.9 percentage points
  • 2000–2019: -0.1 percentage points

African American poverty rate in 2019: 18.7%

Change over time:

  • 2018–2019: -2.0 percentage point
  • 2007–2019: -5.7 percentage points
  • 2000–2019: -3.8 percentage points

Hispanic poverty rate in 2019: 15.7%

Change over time:

  • 2018–2019: -1.9 percentage points
  • 2007–2019: -5.8 percentage points
  • 2000–2019: -5.8 percentage points

Policy matters

The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) is an alternative poverty measure published by the Census Bureau since 2010 that is more sophisticated than the official poverty measure referenced earlier in this fact sheet. The SPM takes into account an array of typical expenses—such as housing, food, clothing, health care, and more—as well as people’s income from both market sources and government programs. Using the Supplemental Poverty Measure, we can evaluate how government assistance lifts people out of poverty.

SPM poverty rate in 2019: 11.7%

Impact of government assistance on poverty as measured by the SPM:

  • Social Security kept 26.5 million people out of poverty in 2019.
  • Refundable tax credits (such as the Earned Income Tax Credit) kept 7.5 million people out of poverty in 2019.
  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps) kept 2.5 million people out of poverty in 2019.
  • Unemployment insurance kept 472,000 people out of poverty in 2019.