Here are some of the key takeaways from the new Census report on US incomes through 2017:
- The 1.8% gain in real median US household income last year brought median income to more than $61,000, the highest level ever recorded.
- The income gain in 2017 was the fifth annual increase and the first period of five consecutive increases in median household income since the late 1990s.
- Compared to 1975, the typical US household today has $12,464 more annual income (in 2017 dollars) or more than $1,200 more per month in real, inflation-adjusted dollars to spend on goods and services, many of which have become much more affordable today than in the 1970s (or weren’t even available then).
- Adjusted for household size, which has been falling over time, real median household income per household member last year of $24,160 (in 2017 dollars) was the highest in history.
- Real median income for married couples with both spouses working reached a new all-time record high last year of $111,000 and has more than doubled from $54,700 in 1963.
- By three different measures — income shares of the top 5% and 20% and the Gini coefficient — there is no evidence of a significant rise in income inequality over the last 25 years; all three measures have been remarkably flat for more than two decades.
- The share of US households with incomes of $100,000 or more (in 2017 dollars) reached a new record high of 29.2% last year, which is more than triple the share of households in 1967 with that level of income. At the same time, the share of US low-income households (real incomes of $35,000 or below) fell to a near-record low of 29.5%.
- America’s middle-class is disappearing but into higher, not lower, income categories over time.