American incomes rose for second consecutive year under Obama

American families finally earn more than they did in 1999

Last year, the Census Bureau reported that the median household income rose 5.2 percent between 2014 and 2015, the first gains since 2007.

The median household income was $59,000, up 3.2 percent from 2015.

Income inequality and wage stagnation have plagued most American households in the post-recession years, crimping family budgets at a time when the cost of essentials such as health care have risen sharply.

Trudi Renwick, the bureau's assistant division chief, cautioned that the census in 2013 changed how it asks households about income, making historical comparisons less than precise. In 2015, household incomes rose 5.2%, the largest increase since records began in 1967.

It also was the first year since the recession that the poverty rate was no statistically different than it was before the crash in 2007. The South and the Western regions of the US saw the biggest income increases, while the Northeast and Midwest saw no statistically significant change at all. Yet that growth came after a steep recession and a slow recovery that left most American households with only meager pay increases.

The poverty threshold for a two-person household under the age of 65 was $16,072 previous year. This is the first time since the recession that the poverty rate isn't statistically different from the 2007 level of 12.5%, a sign of how the US economy has recovered from the Great Recession.

The percentage of people without health insurance for the entire calendar year of 2016 was 8.8 percent, or 28.1 million people, a 0.3 percent decrease from 2015. Some 40.6 million Americans were in poverty, 2.5 million fewer than a year earlier. For example, in 2016, a family of four with two adults and two children with a household income of $24,339 or less, two adults with $16,543 or less, or someone aged 65 or older with $11,511 or less would all be considered to be living in poverty.

The gap between the earnings of women and men narrowed slightly in 2016, with women now earning just more than 80 cents for every dollar men earn.

It's important to note the Census data reports on 2016 income and poverty rates, which means the information doesn't reflect the policies of Mr. Trump, who was inaugurated in January 2017.

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