5 surprising facts in US income report
With inflation factored in, Americans now earn roughly as much as they did in 1996.
This post comes from Seth Fiegerman at partner site MainStreet.
A census report generated much buzz this week largely for its findings that 15.1% of Americans lived in poverty last year, the highest level in more than 15 years. But buried in the report were plenty of other findings that shed light on the financial health of the country's work force, or lack thereof.
MainStreet combed through the report (.pdf file) to find five of the most surprising facts about how the country is living in the aftermath of the recession. Post continues after video.
Americans really need a raise. The median household income last year was $49,445, a decline of more than 6% from 2007, when the Great Recession officially began. In fact, the Census Bureau found that with inflation factored in, Americans now earn roughly as much as they did in 1996.
Homes are more crowded. Confronted with a tough economy, many Americans had little choice but to cut costs by sharing a household with another family or person. There were 21.8 million doubled-up households in spring 2011, an increase of 2 million since spring 2007, just before the recession kicked into gear.
The elderly are doing just fine. While most of the country is struggling to get by, those 65 and older are doing comparatively well. These older households saw incomes increase by 7.5% between 2000 and last year, making this the only age group to enjoy a net wage increase. Likewise, the poverty rate for this age group declined to 9% last year, the lowest in five decades and well below the 13.7% poverty rate for people 18 to 64 and the 22% poverty rate for those under 18. (Are you saving enough for retirement? Try MSN Money's calculator.)
Men are being purged from the labor market. Between 2007 and 2010, the number of men working full time dropped by 6.6 million. By comparison, there were 2.8 million fewer women working full time during this period. Though, as more recent data show, this trend may be changing.
More disabled Americans are without health care. On the whole, the percentage of Americans without health coverage did not change between 2009 and last year, but one group did see a significant shift: those with disabilities. According to the report, there were 2.6 million disabled people between 18 and 64 who were not insured, up from 2.3 million the year before.
More on MainStreet and MSN Money:
One question I keep asking myself is "why did so many companies move their jobs overseas but did not reduce the prices to the American consumer?" The answer is corporate greed. When you buy items or products originated in China (not American companies who moved there) they are cheap and line the shelves of Dollar stores and big box stores. The American products made in China are in higher end stores and big box stores, but still carry a price tag that would be representative of an American made product. There is no discount passed on to the consumer. As long as companies like Apple (others include LL Bean) can make an iphone for $17 and Americans are willing to pay $300, those jobs will never come back. How many iphone users know how many Chinese workers committed suicide because the companies pushed them so hard to meet production quotas for the demand generated by the new release of gen 4 that companies in China had to hang nets above the 2nd floor to deter would be jumpers? Americans need jobs to get raises. Why is everyone in this country so passive. The majority is sitting back and letting things happen. They grumble amongst themselves but not against the government that allows and even makes these things happen. I am only one person, but I write letters and send e-mails to all my state reps, but everyone needs to make themselves heard. Unfortunately poverty will continue to grow in America. I agree that companies that out source and relocate any jobs should be penalized and companies create and keep jobs in the US should be rewarded. I am one of those doubled up household and soon to be tripled. I have two sons with families one has already come back and the other is on his way. It is heart breaking watching your children struggle.
I fear for my grandchildren more.
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