US Household Income Trends in 2014

CensusBureau-Median-Household-Income-Trends-1975-2014-Sept2015The median household income in the US was $53,657 last year, not statistically significant different in real terms from the 2013 estimate, according to recent data [pdf] released by the US Census Bureau based on official national findings from the Current Population Survey. Real median household income (in 2014 dollars) has grown by about 10% over the past 30 years (from $48,664 in 1984), and has failed to recover from its peak of $57,843 in 1999.

The data provides some interesting breakouts based on age and ethnicity.

According to the Census Bureau’s age breakdown, real median household income (HHI) is:

  • Highest among 45-54-year-old householders ($70,832 last year); followed by
  • 35-44-year-old householders ($66,693);
  • 55-64-year-old householders ($60,580);
  • 25-34-year-old householders ($54,243);
  • Householders aged 65 and up ($36,895); and
  • 15-24-year-old householders ($34,605).

(Householders refers to those who maintain the household.)

When sorting by race and Hispanic origin, the study indicates that:

  • Asian households have the highest median HHI, of $74,297;
  • Non-Hispanic whites are next, at $60,256, followed by;
  • Hispanics (any race), at $42,491; and
  • Blacks, at $35,398.

Non-Hispanic White and Black households have not experienced a statistically significant rise in median income since 2007, and the last annual increase for Asian households was in 1999. Hispanics, though, experienced their latest annual increase in 2013.

While median household income grew by about 10% in the 30-year period between 1984 and 2014, the top percentiles have experienced far more rapid growth:

  • Real HHI for the households in the 95th percentile has increased by 39%, to $206,568 last year; and
  • HHI for households in the 90th percentile has grown by 33% to to $157,479 last year, but;
  • HHI for households in the 10th percentile has decreased by 1% over that time span, to $12,276.

What that effectively means is that while those in the 95th percentile enjoyed a HHI 12 times greater than those in the 10th percentile back in 1984, that gap has now reached a multiple of almost 17.

Other Findings:

  • The median household income for a family of 4 last year was $66,632, down from a high of $70,057 in 2007.
  • Between 1999 (when household income peaked) and 2014, incomes at the 50th and 10th percentiles of household income decreased by 7.2% and 16.5%, respectively, while incomes at the 90th percentile grew by 2.8%.
  • The top 5% of households took home 21.9% of aggregate income last year;
  • Among full-time year-round workers, women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio stood at 79% last year ($39,621 compared to $50,383). That ratio has steadily grown from 61% in 1960, and is up from 77% in 2012.
  • 46.66 million Americans lived in poverty last year, or 14.8% of the population. That’s down from 22.4% in 1959, but up from 11.3% in 2000.
  • The poverty rate was highest among Black Americans (26%) and Hispanics (23.6%), and was considerably lower among Asians (11.5%) and non-Hispanic whites (10.1%).