Despite Economic Growth, Workers’ Income Has Barely Increased in the Last Year -- Or The Last 2 Decades

Census Income

New Census data showed that American workers’ wages were statistically unchanged last year from 2017 despite increased economic growth, CBS News reports.

The Census Bureau said in a report that the median household income in the US last year was $63,179, virtually unchanged from what it was in 2017. When adjusted for inflation, Americans are earning just 2.7% more than they did in 1999, when the median household income was $61,526.

The data shows why some 40% of Americans face “material hardship,” meaning they struggle to cover expenses like food and housing. Despite almost no growth in wages, housing and healthcare costs have soared over the past two decades.

"Most families have just barely made up the ground lost over the past decade," Elise Gould, a senior economist with the Economic Policy Institute, told CBS.

More Americans going uninsured:

While wages haven’t risen, the Census report shows that the number of uninsured Americans has increased by nearly two million in the last year.

The number of uninsured rose from 25.6 million in 2017 to 27.5 million in 2018.

The percentage of uninsured Americans increased from 7.9% to 8.5%, the first annual increase since President Obama took office in 2009.

Red states still struggling despite economic expansion:

“The increase in uninsured Americans is striking partly because of the economy's expansion and increased payrolls,” the CBS report noted.

Some of the issues have been exacerbated by Trump’s policies. His moves to gut Obamacare and his targeting of Medicaid has seen Medicaid enrollment fall by nearly 1% last year.

“The nation's poverty rate declined last year to 11.8 percent, 0.5 percentage points lower than in 2017, the Census said. The South was the only region where poverty failed to improve, with the poverty rate in southern states standing at 13.6%, little changed from 2017,” CBS News reported.

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