9.13.2011

$49,445 - Ponder This With Me


That's the "median household income" as released by the Census bureau this morning. That's down over 2% from 2009.

Trying to find historical data is mind-numbing. Everything seems to broken down by region, age and race not to mention that it may or may not be adjusted for inflation. But it seems that, generally speaking, incomes in America have flattened out over the last decade or more. That is, Americans aren't on a gradual increase in income from one year to the next. Now, and for many years before, we can expect income to remain the same or even decrease from year to year while prices continue to slowly ascend.

Do you guys agree? Leaving politics aside, because 10 to 15 years includes both Democrats and Republicans being in charge, does it seem like things aren't the same as they were in the 1990s and before?

(And if someone can find a solid Census graph for median household income over the last 30 years, I'd love to see it.)

Edit: WordKyle found a good Census chart. My fears seem to be true. Starting with the late 1990s, we've been flat or in decline ever since. And the latest numbers take us back to the late 1980s.


30 comments:

Mr. Mike Honcho said...

Its a denominator issue. You add in all the increases in low income population, then you will see more and more low income folks being divided into the pool of salaries (the numerator).

Another way to look at it is that middle and upper classes typically keep increasing in pay. But that amount of salary earnings can't offset the population of low income people that is growing faster.

Why? I would say its because of two things; kids follow parents, i.e. middle class parents will typically have kids that grow up to be middle class, lower income parents will typically have kids that will be lower income, etc.

Second, middle and upper class people have much fewer kids than lower income.

Combine those two and I think you can see that population growth has finally caught up with income growth. And I would not expect it to head back up; theoretically it should keep heading down now unless something major impacts population growth rates for income segments.

Not a PC answer. But I believe you could look up some stats to back it up.

Ricardo Perry said...

Median:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gdp_versus_household_income.png

by race:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_real_median_household_income_1967_-_2009.png


Average income (data source: National Bureau of Economic Research)

http://visualizingeconomics.com/2008/05/04/average-income-in-the-united-states-1913-2006/

Anonymous said...

MHI (historical) and as adjusted for inflation:

http://www.davemanuel.com/median-household-income.php

Ricardo Perry said...

one more:

http://www.davemanuel.com/median-household-income.php

Anonymous said...

I think the numbers actually show that we are worse off than we were ten years ago. And that is a trend, not just from these last two years (anticipating that some won't be able to leave politics aside).

Rage

Anonymous said...

The decline in unions, decline in middle class, education cuts, more 9-11 restrictions, outsourcing.

Anonymous said...

Good answer Honcho and not being a smart ass..truly a great answer

Anonymous said...

California will fall off the map. Learn to swim, see you down in Arizona bay.

The Secret Police said...

I don't believe you can leave politics out of it, because politics will always be a major factor in the numbers you are trying to come up with. IMHO, only a liberal would even try to leave the politics out of such a study because the results would likely be quite damning.

Anonymous said...

Are the incomes referenced specifically of households who actually work for a living or does it include households whose income solely derives from welfare and other government programs?

Anonymous said...

There we go, Secret Police is right on time with his standard crap.

How is it damning to a liberal that the chart shows a drop in income that began during Bush's tenure?

Anonymous said...

It's the influx of illegals working on the cheap and quality manufacturing jobs that went over seas. Thank you NAFTA.

Anonymous said...

Y'all are looking at this all wrong. The only reason that the average household income would need to increase period-to-period is to compensate for inflation - which this graph has been adjusted for. So the "average" household today, in terms of how much car/house/hooker they can buy will should remain relatively constant.

If the real median household income increased, on average, year-over-year, all that would happen would be an increase in inflation (supply and demand - more income to spend = higher prices) which this graph considers - so we're back to square one.

This graph is also trying to convince people that things are no better now than they used to be. One should also consider other increases such as technology and medicine - where folks are receiving exponentially more bang for their buck than even in the 1990s.

The Backdoor Intruder

The Secret Police said...

1:15, When was Bush elected?

You don't have to go all Spider Monkey on me. I'm just pointing out that I believe politics is a major factor, whether you like it or not. If you think bad government policies don't have any effect on a society's income as a whole, well, you aint payin' attention.

Underground said...

The bad government policies are all part of the plan. The dollar is going to fail and no longer be the reserve currency worldwide. Our country is going to fall apart. The people in this country who don't pay any taxes will be transported to Denver International Airport (New World Order Detention Center) and there they will be exterminated. The Bancor will take the place of the Dollar as the New World Currency. The politicians who have sold there soul for the almighty dollar will hopefully all go straight to hell. It does not matter who is in the white house today or tomorrow. The plan has been in place for many years and the collapse of our country financially will be the chance they have been waiting for to implement it.

Anonymous said...

1:29 You're thanking the wrong entity.

It should be THANK YOU UNIONS

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the Misery Cafe, corner of Carter and Obama streets.

Anonymous said...

I think Mike Honcho may have it correct on that bit of data only, meaning all households. But, I think what you would see when you look at the Middle Class, you would see the same trend in data. So, I believe his statement: "Another way to look at it is that middle and upper classes typically keep increasing in pay. But that amount of salary earnings can't offset the population of low income people that is growing faster." probably holds no water because I don't think the data will show that the middle class pay is increasing. BUT, the upper classes have increased. I've seen many graphs over the past few months to think that what he is saying is true.

Anonymous said...

Okay, naught divided by naught is double naught, carry the one. It all looks equal to me, but I'll have Jethro Bodine check my math & get back to you.

My Other Brother Darryl

Anonymous said...

you should see a chart of chinese wages over the last 20 years, straight up and likely to continue up, because they are the manufacturer to the whole world now..their factories are ultra modern and efficient without unions.

Anonymous said...

3:56 or the EPA or NAFTA or the influx of illegals requiring support from those who work. Liked your thought just wanted to carry it out more completely.

Anonymous said...

3:56 Imagine that!

Anonymous said...

Laziness, greed, unions and illegal immigrants destroyed this country.

And nobody is doing a dam thing about any of it.

Anonymous said...

Daryl, did you check you gozintas?

Mr. Mike Honcho said...

2:51pm, I understand what you are saying. But that argument depends hugely on where you draw the line on what makes someone middle class. What annual salary per household would that bracket? Is there an upper middle class? Lower middle class?

Thats a tough one, but most census bureau charts I reviewed show 3rd and 4th quartile incomes increasing. And I certainly don't argue that the top quartile or 5% aren't getting richer.

If incomes continue to increase for upper and middle class... (well maybe lets say it this way) if incomes continue to decrease or stay neutral for lower income families, AND the number of lower income families increase at a significantly higher pace than others, then median income will start dropping at some point and continue to do so until one of those two factors change.

Anonymous said...

But with government help, 3:56.

Rage

Anonymous said...

3 words outsourcing'corporate greed

Anonymous said...

Honcho nailed it. It's always about the math.

Anonymous said...

Corporations are supposed to be greedy. That is why people invest in them. TO MAKE MONEY.
Corporations are not in the business of providing jobs. They are in business to MAKE MONEY.

Anonymous said...

Are they in the business of killing too 8:31? Shareholders want a profit, sure, but now when it's killing people in the process like those East Coast coal miners.