Household Incomes Decline for Minorities, Survey Shows

The U.S. median household income dropped 1.3 percent to $50,502 between 2010 and 2011, according to the latest American Community Survey. States with large minority populations led the decline.

Nevada experienced the steepest drop in median income at 6 percent, followed by California (3.8 percent) and Arizona and Florida (both 2.9 percent).

While the overall poverty rate increased four years in a row, the percentage hike (0.6 percent) for 2011 was smaller than previous years. The nationwide rate rose 1.1 percent between 2009 and 2010 and another 1 percent between 2010 and 2011.

From the 2011 results, of 19 states with statistically significant changes in median household incomes, the only state to increase, to about $57,700, was Vermont, where almost 95 percent of the population is white.

In nearly each of the 19 states with measurable changes in median household income, Asians registered the highest income level of any racial and ethnic group, at nearly $68,000.

A census report that examined Americans' circumstances using different methodology released last week produced slightly different numbers but indicated that inequality by income and insurance coverage is on the rise nationally.

(Related Story: U.S. Poverty Rate Remains Steady at 15 Percent)

Here are some highlights of the median household incomes by race, based on the community survey data:

  • Asians in New Jersey, comprising 8.7 percent of the state's population, had the highest median household income at $96,915 in 2011, about 30 percent higher than the state's overall median of $67,458. The median income level was $72,498 for whites, $43,118 for blacks, and $46,121 for Hispanics.
  • The $56,806 median household income of Hispanics in Vermont, who make up 1.6 percent of the state's population, was 7 percent higher than the state's median household income of $52,776. This group's household income was higher than that of Asians ($50,922), but lower than for whites ($53,236). The median household income was not available for blacks.
  • Nevada, where 27 percent of the population is Latino, saw the largest decline (6 percent) of median household income to $48,927 in 2011. In some Las Vegas neighborhoods seven out of 10 mortgages are underwater.

The American Community Survey annually samples thousands of U.S. households, separate from the more comprehensive census report distributed every 10 years to all U.S. residents. The ACS focuses on the socioeconomic demographics of neighborhood and housing tracts.

Other coverage on the annual ACS:

·      Industrial workers back at it, but the ranks have shrunk, survey shows
·      Michigan's immigrant population rises slightly, survey shows
·      U.S. Income Gap Now Worse Than Rwanda's