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In 1997, the real 1 median income of U.S. households returned to the peak reached in 1989, the year before the most recent recessionary period (lasting from July 1990 to March 1991). U.S. households began their recovery in median household income in 1995 and since then have experienced significant annual increases in their income.
Subgroups that achieved 2 or surpassed their 1989 income levels in 1997 included White households, households maintained by a person 25 to 34 years old, households maintained by a person 65 years old and over, households outside of metropolitan areas, households in the West, family households, and nonfamily households maintained by a woman. Subgroups that had already achieved their 1989 income level within the past 2 years and continue to sustain or exceed that level include Black households, households in the Midwest and South, households maintained by a person 55 to 64 years old, married-couple households, and family households maintained by women with no husband present. These data are from the March supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS).
The CPS supplement conducted in March of each year is one of the best known and most widely used of all continuing federal household surveys. For 50 years, analysts, researchers, and policymakers have used the CPS to examine annual changes in income and earnings and to compare those changes with historical trends. Daily news (whether television, radio, or newspaper) frequently details statistics on Americans' jobs, income, poverty status, health insurance coverage, marital status, migration, and so forth based on these data.
(The figures in parentheses denote 90-percent confidence intervals.)