According to the US Census, the economic fallout from COVID in 2020 weighed on median household income.

Median Household Income Dropped -2.9% in 2020

According to the just released US Census Bureau’s annual assessment of America’s income and poverty levels during 2020, the country’s median household income was $67,521 in 2020, a decrease of -2.9% y/y.

This is “the first statistically significant decline in median household income since 2011,” according to the Census Bureau.

However, without government stimulus programs, the pandemic’s impact on American incomes in 2020 would have been much worse.

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Income Report Highlights

The 2020 real median incomes of family households and nonfamily households fell-3.2% and -3.1%, respectively.

In the Midwest, real median household incomes fell -3.2%.  In both the South and the West, real median household incomes dropped -2.3%.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the last time median household income fell significantly was 2011, during the aftermath of the 2007-2009 recession.

Median incomes were highest in the Northeast ($75,211).  The West followed at ($74,9561) and then came the Midwest ($66,968) and the South ($61,243.)

The top 20%, those earning +$141,100, collected 52.2% of household income while the top 5%, incomes above $273,700, collected 23% of all household income.  The lowest 20% earning households, making less than $27,000, collected just 3% of all household income.  Those earning from $27,000 to $52,000 collected 8.1% of all household income.

Earnings Highlights

Real median earnings fell -1.2% between 2019 and 2020 from $42,065 to $41,535.

The total number of full-time, year-round workers dropped -13.7M people between 2019 and 2020.  Female full-time, year-round workers decreased by -6.2M; male full-time, year-round workers fell -7.5M.

Real median earnings of full-time, year-round workers in 2020 increased +6.9% from 2019.  Earnings of full-time, year-round male workers ($61,417) and women ($50,982) increased by +5.6% and +6.5%, respectively.

Poverty Highlights

The official poverty rate in the US in 2020 was 11.4%, an increase of +1.0% from 2019.  There were 37.2M in poverty, approximately +3.3M more than in 2019.

The poverty rate among non-Hispanic Whites was 8.2%, Hispanics had a poverty rate of 17.0% and Blacks at 19.5%.

Poverty rates increased for married- couple families (+4.7%) and families with a female householder  (+23.4%).

The expanded role of the government safety net during the pandemic with its rounds of stimulus checks and forbearance programs “saved” millions of more people from joining the poverty roles according to The Wall Street Journal. 

 Thanks to the US Census Bureau and The Wall Street Journal.

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