US median household income Climbs to $46,326, Poverty Stabilizes, Uninsured Rate Increases

Real median household income in the United States rose by 1.1 percent between 2004 and 2005, reaching $46,326, according to a report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. Meanwhile, the nation’s official poverty rate remained statistically unchanged at 12.6 percent. The percentage of people without health insurance coverage rose from 15.6 percent to 15.9 percent (46.6 million people).
Report Highlights:
  • Nationally, 2005 marked the first year since 1999 in which real median household income showed an annual increase.
  • The Northeast had the highest household income of all four regions ($50,882) in 2005, followed by the West ($50,002) and the Midwest ($45,950). Households in the South had the lowest median income ($42,138).
  • Real median income rose by 3.3 percent to $42,040 in 2005 for foreign-born households and remained statistically unchanged for native households ($46,897).
  • There were 37 million people in poverty (12.6 percent) in 2005. Both the number and rate were statistically unchanged from 2004 and marked the end of four consecutive years of increases in the poverty rate (2001-2004).
  • The number of people with health insurance coverage increased by 1.4 million to 247.3 million between 2004 and 2005, and the number without such coverage rose by 1.3 million to 46.6 million (from 15.6 percent in 2004 to 15.9 percent in 2005).
  • Household income estimates in 2005 varied from state to state, ranging from a median of $61,672 for New Jersey to $32,938 for Mississippi.
  • For counties with 250,000 or more people in 2005, median household income ranged from $98,483 in Loudoun County, Va., to $24,501 in Hidalgo County, Texas.
  • Poverty rates in 2005 among the 50 states and the District of Columbia ranged from a low of 7.5 percent in New Hampshire to a high of 21.3 percent in Mississippi.
  • Among the 22 major occupational groups in 2005, men earned the most in the legal occupations ($102,272). Women had the highest median earnings in the computer and mathematical occupations ($58,906).

These findings are contained in the Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2005 [PDF] report. Also released today were tabulations of economic data from the 2005 American Community Survey (ACS), a powerful new tool that provides timely and updated information about the nation’s changing and diverse population every year. The data are available for nearly 7,000 areas including for the first time all congressional districts, and counties, cities and American Indian/Alaska native areas of 65,000 population or more. Without the ACS, this type of information — previously gathered just once a decade — would not be available for communities until 2012.

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