FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Incomes Down; Poverty Up

by JARED BERNSTEIN

and LAWRENCE MISHEL

The inflation-adjusted income of the median household was unchanged in 2004, remaining $1,700, or 3.8%, below its most recent peak in 1999, according to today’s release by the U.S. Bureau of the Census. The 2004 level of median income-$44,389-was slightly below 2003’s level, but the change was not statistically significant.

The main factor explaining this significant, ongoing decline in household income appears to be ongoing weakness in the job market, especially regarding real annual earnings, which fell significantly for both men (-2.3%) and women (-1.0%).

The real income of the typical household has fallen five years in a row, despite the fact that the last three of the those years, 2002, 2003, and 2004, have been years of economic expansion.

The number and share of persons in poverty also increased last year, from 12.5% to 12.7%, the fourth consecutive increase since poverty bottomed out at 11.3% in 2000, the end of the last expansion. Since that year, 5.4 million more persons, including 1.4 million children have been added to the poverty rolls.

The key factor behind the deterioration of real household income and poverty is the prolonged labor market slump that began in 2001. Although the job market expanded consistently in 2004-today’s release shows that addition of 1.5 million workers in 2004 over 2003-this addition was not faster than the growth of households and not enough to absorb the labor market slack left over from the longest jobless recovery on record.

The unbalanced nature of the economic recovery is also documented in today’s release. While the share of total national income flowing to the bottom 60% of household was essentially unchanged, the share going to the top 5% was up 0.4 percentage points, from 21.4% to 21.8%. As of 2004, the top fifth of household held 50.1% of all income, tied with 2001 for the highest share on record. Similarly, while the average real income of middle-income households fell $300-from $44,759 to $44,455-that of households in the top 5% grew by over $4,000, from $260,045 to $264,387.

JARED BERNSTEIN is a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute and Lawrence Mishel is president of the Economic Policy Institute.

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Mel Gurtov
Donald Trump’s Lies And Team Trump’s Headaches
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
Wayne Clark
A Reset Button for Political America
Chris Welzenbach
“The Death Ship:” An Allegory for Today’s World
Uri Avnery
Being There
Peter Lee
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
Patrick Hiller
Guns Against Grizzlies at Schools or Peace Education as Resistance?
Randy Shields
The Devil’s Real Estate Dictionary
Ron Jacobs
Singing the Body Electric Across Time
Ann Garrison
Fifty-five Years After Lumumba’s Assassination, Congolese See No Relief
Christopher Brauchli
Swing Low Alabama
Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones
La Realidad: the Realities of Anti-Mexicanism
Jon Hochschartner
The Five Least Animal-Friendly Senate Democrats
Pauline Murphy
Fighting Fascism: the Irish at the Battle of Cordoba
Susan Block
#GoBonobos in 2017: Happy Year of the Cock!
Louis Proyect
Is Our Future That of “Sense8” or “Mr. Robot”?
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
David Yearsley
Manchester-by-the-Sea and the Present Catastrophe
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail