US household income hits new high in 2017, poverty rate almost static

NEW YORK (AFP) – US median household income rose 1.8 per cent in 2017 to USD61,372, according to census data released on Wednesday, though the poverty rate fell only marginally.

The report followed earlier positive data on employment and consumer confidence that point to an improving American economy near the 10th anniversary of the 2008 Financial Crisis.

At the same time, the biggest year-over-year jumps came at the highest income levels, the data show.

The official poverty rate decreased 0.4 per cent from the prior year to 12.3 per cent, representing 39.7 million people – though officials cautioned this was not statistically different from the 2016 level.

UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Philip Alston said in a statement, “The current US administration should be ashamed of the latest Census Bureau statistics on poverty which show almost no improvement from last year.

“At a time of record employment, record stock market valuations, and huge increases in wealth for the top earners, there are still… 28.5 million people without health insurance in the United States.”

United States banknotes seen in Zelienople, Pennsylvania. – AP