A few other notable points from the report:
Regionally, economic growth was uneven.
The median household income in the Midwest grew just 0.9 percent from last year, which is not a statistically significant amount. In the South, by contrast, the median income grew 3.9 percent; in the West, it grew 3.3 percent. “The Midwest is the place where we should have the greatest worry in part because we didn't see any significant growth,” said Mary Coleman, the senior vice president of Economic Mobility Pathways, a national nonprofit that tries to move people out of poverty. Median household income was also stagnant in rural areas, growing 13 percent, to $45,830. In contrast, it jumped significantly inside cities, by 5.4 percent, to $54,834, showing that cities are continuing to pull away from the rest of the country in terms of economic success.
Women made some progress compared to men.
Women made 80.5 percent of what men did last year, but women are slowly catching up to men. The female-to-male earnings ratio was 1.1 percentage points higher than it was in 2015, the first time the ratio has experienced an annual increase in a decade. In 1990, by contrast, women made only 70 percent of what men did. The median earnings of all women last year was $41,554, compared to $51,640 for men.
African Americans and Hispanics experienced significant gains in income, but still trail far behind whites and Asians.
All ethnic groups saw incomes rise between 2015 and 2016, the second such annual increase in a row. The median income of black families jumped 5.7 percent between 2015 and 2016, to $39,490. Hispanic residents also saw a growth incomes, by 4.3 percent, to $47,675. Asians had the highest median household income in 2016, at $81,431. Whites saw a less significant increase than African Americans and Hispanics, of 1.6 percent, but their earning are still far higher, at $61,858.
The poverty rate for black residents also decreased last year, falling to 22 percent, from 24.1 percent the previous year. The poverty rate of Hispanics decreased to 19.4 percent, from 21.4 percent in 2015. In comparison, 8.8 of whites, or 17.3 million people, were in poverty in 2016, which was not a statistically significant change from the previous year, and 10.1 percent of Asians, or 1.9 million people were in poverty, which was also similar to 2015.
Health insurance coverage is continuing to expand.
More and more Americans have health coverage as Medicaid becomes available to more people. About 91.2 percent of Americans had health insurance last year, up from 86.7 percent in 2013, the year before many of the significant changes from Obamacare went into effect. The increases in coverage were the most significant in states that accepted the federal expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare, the Census data show, where the uninsured rate dropped to 6.5 percent last year, compared to 11.7 percent in states that did not expand Medicaid. Around 62 million people are now covered by Medicaid, up from 55 million in 2013.