Published: Fri, September 15, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

US Family Incomes Up, Poverty Down

US Family Incomes Up, Poverty Down

The ACS' annual report on median incomes, which takes more sources of household revenue into account besides the wages that we see in the Labor Department's jobs report every month, showed an overall national rise of 2.4 percent in 2016, to $57,617.

Tuesday's report was based on survey data collected earlier this year for 2016, the final full year of the Obama administration.

Michigan's poverty rate, despite its 0.8 percentage point decline to 15% in 2016, remains above the national rate of 14%, according to 2016 data. Now, that said, adjusted for inflation, middle American households are still at about the same income level as they were in 2007 just before the Great Recession.

The bureau said changes in incomes in households in the Northeast were "not statistically significant", while the poverty rate in the Northeast decreased from 12.4 percent in 2015 to 10.8 percent in 2016.

The overall number of people without health insurance fell to 28.1 million, or about 8.8 percent of the US population. Polun is concerned about the effect of the state budget on poverty.

The Liberal government's new child benefit was created to slash child poverty rates further, particularly in places like Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, which had the highest provincial child poverty rate at 22.2 per cent.

The 2011 census was voluntary and as a result Statistics Canada got weaker response rates, which is why the comparisons the agency released Wednesday are with 2005 data. It found that Massachusetts' uninsured rate dropped in 2016, from 2.8 percent in 2015 to 2.5 percent past year.

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There were 367,000 more older Americans in poverty in 2016 than the year before. The rest of the nation fell to its lowest poverty rate since 2007, before the arrival of the Great Recession.

The Supplemental Poverty Measure, unlike the official poverty rate, factors in non-cash benefits like food stamps and tax credits that low-income families often receive, but it also counts expenses like medical and child care. That contrasts with white households at 2.0 percent ($65,041) and a 4.3 percent jump for Hispanic households ($47,675).

Among Lower Mainland cities, White Rock had the lowest increase in median incomes at 4.6 per cent. Vancouver and Mission were neck-and-neck for the highest increase, at 16.8 per cent and 16.5 per cent respectively.

Moves like this are a concern, as it could deter people from signing up or re-enrolling, said Ashley Blanchard, public policy and research analyst for BCAC Lifebridge, which advocates for the well-being for children and families in Bridgeport.

"From what we are seeing, there are still a lot of people struggling below the ALICE threshold", said Stephanie Hoopes, director of the ALICE Project. "Raising the minimum wage would be the most obvious one". One of President Donald Trump's major campaign promises was repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and there have been several attempts to do so, though none have succeeded.

Many Americans are optimistic, as West is, that their fortunes will continue to improve.

"The longest expansion in USA history was in the 90s", when there was a decade of growth. Overall, the story was pretty upbeat in 2016, the a year ago of President Barack Obama's term.

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