The poverty rate dropped in President Barack Obama’s final year of office as median household income rose to a record high last year.
The Census Bureau reported Tuesday that the poverty rate fell 0.8% to 12.7% in 2016 — meaning 2.5 million people escaped poverty. This is the first time since the recession that the poverty rate isn’t statistically different from the 2007 level of 12.5%, a sign of how the U.S. economy has recovered from the Great Recession.
The poverty threshold for a two-person household under the age of 65 was $16,072 last year. It varies by age and number of children.
Median household income rose 3.2% when adjusted for inflation to $59,039, the second straight rise and a new all-time high, finally surpassing the previous record set in 1999.
The female-to-male earnings ratio rose 1.1 percentage points to 80.5% — the first gain since 2007.
A measure of income inequality, called the Gini index, wasn’t statistically different at 0.481. But it’s grown steadily over the last 50 years.
The percentage of people without health insurance was 8.8%, a decline of 0.3%. Republicans in Congress narrowly failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the law that extends insurance to millions of Americans.