Entries in Household Income (5)


States with Highest and Lowest Household Incomes Through The Years

John Foxx/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Just about everyone has some kind of feeling about the U.S. Census, which asks all sorts of intrusive questions about your cohabitation preferences, your finances and your housing situation. Annoying. Invasive. Time-consuming.

But what few people may realize is that this has been going on since 1790, when the first census was conducted under the direction of Thomas Jefferson. (One can only imagine how he described his living arrangements). And it serves a greater purpose than mere nosiness.

More than 200 years later, the U.S. Census Bureau has released its most recent statistics on income, poverty and health insurance coverage. The estimates are available in detailed tables for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, every congressional district, every metropolitan area, and all counties and places with populations of 65,000 or more. (Check out the Census Bureau's American FactFinder database to find statistics for your area.)

The findings are interesting. According to the report, Household Income for States: 2010 and 2011, which presents statistics on median household income at the national and state levels, in 2011 the median household income ranged from a high of $70,004 in Maryland to a low of $36,919 in Mississippi. Between 2010 and 2011, Vermont was the only state that showed an increase in median household income, which declined in 18 states.

Granted, two years is not such a long time lapse. So let's go back 40 years. Which state was richest, and which was the poorest?

The answers are here, courtesy of—you guessed it—the U.S. Census.

State with the highest median household income in 2009: New Jersey, $69,272

State with the lowest in 2009:
Mississippi, $36,646

1999: New Jersey, $55,146; West Virginia, $29,696

1989: Connecticut, $41,721; Mississippi, $20,136

1979: Alaska, $25,414; Mississippi, $12,096

Alaska, $11,817; Arkansas, $5,356

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Middle-Class Worse Off Now than a Decade Ago, Survey Says

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A survey released Wednesday shows there's no getting around the fact that the middle-class in the U.S. got slammed during the last decade.

Statistics from the Pew Research Center for Social and Demographic Trends found that middle-class families became poorer in the 2000s than the decade before, marking the first time that's occurred since World War II.

Eight-five percent of people who describe themselves as middle-class now say it's more difficult to maintain the lifestyle they grew accustomed to before the start of the 21st Century.

The numbers confirm their worries.  A median household income for three is now $69,487, down from $72,956.  Even more troubling, median net worth, which includes all assets such as a house, fell from $152,950 to $93,150.

Most of the problems occurred when the Great Recession began in late 2007 due to the housing bubble bursting and the subsequent near-financial meltdown in September 2008.  From that point on, it's been a long, hard climb back with respondents not holding out much hope of seeing the return of good economic times anytime soon.

The upper middle-class, on the other hand, has seen its fortunes rise.  Categorized as a family of three making more than $118,255, they now hold 46 percent of income in the U.S. compared to 29 percent a decade ago.  At the same time, the middle-class hold on the nation's income has shrunk from 62 percent to 45 percent.

As for who is to blame for the mess they're in, 62 percent of the middle-class blame Congress "a lot."

Meanwhile, 54 percent put the blame on banks and financial institutions, 47 percent say it's the fault of large corporations, 44 percent hold the Bush administration responsible, 39 percent say foreign competition is to blame and 34 percent put the onus on the Obama administration for their financial woes.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Median Household Net Worth Down 35 Percent

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Median household net worth declined 35 percent between 2005 and 2010 to $66,740, the Census Bureau reported on Monday.

The federal agency reported median net worth dropped to $66,740 from $102,844 in constant dollars in that period, which included the last recession.

However, excluding home equity, median household net worth actually increased to $15,000 from $13,859 between 2009 and 2010.

Karen Dynan, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said the figures show the “devastating” effect of the housing bust on the condition of American families.

“You can clearly see in comparing homeowners and renters, homeowners suffered more in a decline in wealth,” she said.

Census Bureau economist Alfred Gottschalck said the overall decline in net worth “reflects drops in housing values and stock market indices.”

Younger age groups had the biggest percentage declines. Younger households saw a percent decline of 37 percent while older households had a decline of 14 percent. Median net worth of households 65 and older decreased to $170,128 from $195,890. For those under 35, median household net worth decreased to $5,402 from $8,528. However, householders age 35 to 44 had the largest percent decline in median net worth of any age group from 2005 to 2010 at 59 percent.

Households in the Northeast had the highest median net worth at $86,758. Households in the West had the lowest at $57,034. Those in the South followed closely at $57,079. Households in the Midwest had a median of $77,769.

Not surprisingly, more education is associated with a higher net worth. In 2010, those householders with a graduate or professional degree had a median net worth of $245,764. Those with a bachelor’s degree had a median net worth of $142,518. Those with a high school diploma had a median net worth of $42,223. For those without a high school diploma, their median net worth was $7,270.

Last week, the Federal Reserve released its Survey of Consumer Finance which showed the median family had a net worth of $77,300 in 2010, levels last seen in 1992, down from $126,400 in 2007.

The White House responded to last week’s data, saying that household wealth has risen in every year President Obama has been in office, by 23 percent. They explained that the drop in household wealth occurred in 2008, before the president took office.

“Broadly speaking, these two surveys are in line and show how tough financial conditions are for American households and just how far we have to go to get back to where we were,” Dynan said. “They very much illustrate that even though it’s been almost three years since the recession ended, it probably doesn’t feel that way for most families.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Top 1 Percent's Income Soared Since '79

John Foxx/Stockbyte(WASHINGTON) -- The income of the richest 1 percent in the U.S. soared 275 percent from 1979 to 2007, but the bottom 20 percent grew by just 18 percent, new government data shows.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a study this week that compared real after-tax household income between 1979 and 2007, which were both after recessions and had similar overall economic activity.

While the income of the richest 1 percent nearly tripled, increases were smaller down the economic ladder. After the 1 percent, income for the next highest 20 percent grew by 65 percent, much faster than it did for the remaining 80 percent of the population but still lagging well behind the top percentile.

The changes illustrate how the better off have captured the bulk of income gains over the past three decades. The top quintile has seen its share of income rise while the other four quintiles have suffered declines in their shares, according to John Bowler, director of country risk service with the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The report states that without the growth of the top percentile, income inequality still would have increased, "but not by nearly as much." The study was prepared at the request of Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.

The CBO said the reasons for the rapid growth at the top are "not well understood," though some possibilities include technical innovations that have changed the labor market for superstars, "such as actors, athletes, and musicians," changes in executive compensation, and increasing scale of financial-sector activities.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Report: Two Might Not Always Live More Cheaply than One

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It's a growing trend. The number of couples co-habitating has risen 13 percent in the past year, to include 7.5 million couples. But a new study suggests, combining households doesn't always save people money.  
A review of census data by the Pew Research Center finds household income for co-habitants without college degrees is about the same as those who live alone.  

Living together does pay off for college-educated co-habitants, whose household incomes are about $15,000 higher than those who don't live with partners, and $5,000 more than married couples.  

Scientists say the less-educated tend to marry younger, possibly divorce sooner and are more likely to be left with children, while degree holders are often two-income earners.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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