Today’s Big Census News: Household Incomes Stayed Flat

Most demographic groups are still coming back from the recession.

Latino median household income remained stagnant in 2014. (Brian Harkin/Getty Images)

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If it feels like your economic outlook hasn’t really changed in the last year, it’s because it hasn’t.

For the third consecutive year, median household income has not been “statistically different” from the previous year, according to new data released by the Census Bureau on Wednesday.

In Census speak, it just means more of the same.

In 2014, median household income was $53,657. This figure still hasn’t caught up to its prerecession levels, as it’s 6.5 percent lower than it was in 2007. Employment levels are getting better, but overall we’re not making enough money.

What’s causing the slack? White and native-born households, it turns out.

The median household income for whites declined by 1.7 percent from 2013 to 2014. Households maintained by a native-born person also declined by 2.3 percent in that time period.

For their part, however, households that are maintained by a foreign-born person saw a 4.3 percent increase between 2013 and 2014. They are the only group that saw an increase.

Native-born household income is still nearly $5,000 more than foreign-born median household income, which increased to $49,592. But that increase is significant.

Black, Asian, and Latino households, on the other hand, remained the same. While there was a decline for white households, median household income is still relatively high at $60,256. Latino household income is still lower at $42,491, and black households are even lower at $35,398.

Asian households, though, are by far the most well-off, with a median household income of $74,297, continuing their strong presence in the U.S. economy.

The wealth gap between races is still pronounced, it seems. White people in this country continue to make more money than Latino and black workers, even if their income declined slightly over the last year.

As the Economic Policy Institute said today, “Wage trends greatly determine how fast incomes at the middle and bottom grow, as well as the overall path of income inequality.”

If Latinos and blacks continue not to have access to certain wealth-building tools, like credit and higher education, the wealth gap will remain just as large.