New Census Data Show Income Increased, and 
Poverty and Uninsured Declined in 2016
By Joseph Ahern
Fellow, Applied Research
September 12, 2017

Newly released reports from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS) show that median household income increased in the United States between 2015 and 2016, and the poverty rate and the percent of people without health insurance declined in the same period.

Median household income nationally in 2016 was $59,039, an increase from 2015 of 3.2 percent after adjusting for inflation. The median income of married-couple families increased by 1.6 percent to $87,057, and that of female-headed families increased by 7.2 percent to $41,027. Although most racial and ethnic groups saw increases, disparities persisted, with households headed by non-Hispanic Whites making $65,041, as compared to $39,490 for African Americans and $47,675 for people with Hispanic/Latino ethnicity.  Among full-time year-round workers, women earned a median of $41,554 compared to $51,640 for men. However, the female-to-male earnings ratio of 0.805 represented its first annual increase since 2007.

In 2016, 40.6 million Americans lived below the federal poverty line, 2.5 million fewer than in 2015. The official poverty rate was 12.7 percent, down from 13.5 percent in 2015. African Americans had a 2016 poverty rate of 22.0 percent, more than twice that for non-Hispanic Whites, 8.8 percent; the Hispanic/Latino poverty rate was 19.4 percent. White, African American, and Hispanic/Latino people all saw a decline in their poverty rates from 2015. Eighteen percent of children under 18 lived below poverty in 2016, down from 19.7 percent in 2015.

Twenty-eight million Americans were without health insurance for the whole year in 2016, down from 29 million in 2015; the percentage of uninsured fell from 9.1 percent to 8.8 percent. Two-thirds of Americans had private insurance, and 37.3 percent had government insurance (some people had both private and public coverage). Among Ohioans, 5.6 percent were uninsured in 2016, only half as many as the 11.0 percent in 2013, the year before the Affordable Care Act went into effect.

The Census Bureau will release more data for 2016 from the American Community Survey (ACS) on September 14; these will include more detailed income, poverty, and health insurance data for states, counties, and large cities. Community Solutions will be posting some of these results on this blog as soon as they are released.