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Income and Poverty in the United States: 2017

Report Number P60-263
Kayla Fontenot, Jessica Semega, and Melissa Kollar
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Introduction

This report presents data on income, earnings, income inequality, and poverty in the United States based on information collected in the 2018 and earlier Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplements (CPS ASEC) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

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Highlights

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Income:

  • Median household income was $61,372 in 2017, an increase in real terms of 1.8 percent from the 2016 median of $60,309.  This is the third consecutive annual increase in median household income.
  • The 2017 real median income of family households increased 1.4 percent from 2016 to $77,713.  Real median income for married-couple households increased 1.6 percent between 2016 and 2017.
  • The real median income of households maintained by non-Hispanic Whites ($68,145) and Hispanics ($50,486) increased 2.6 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively, between 2016 and 2017.  This is the third annual increase in median household income for these two groups. Among the race groups, households maintained by Asians had the highest median income in 2017, $81,331.
  • The real median income of households maintained by a native-born person increased 1.5 percent between 2016 and 2017, while the 2017 real median income of households maintained by a foreign-born person was not statistically different from 2016

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Earnings:

  • The 2017 real median earnings of all male workers increased 3.0 percent from 2016 to $44,408, while real median earnings for their female counterparts ($31,610) saw no statistically significant change between 2016 and 2017.
  • In 2017, the real median earnings of men ($52,146) and women ($41,977) working full-time, year-round each decreased from their respective 2016 medians by 1.1 percent.  The 2017 female-to-male earnings ratio was 0.805, not statistically different from the 2016 ratio.
  • The number of men and women working full-time, year-round increased by 1.4 million and 1.0 million, respectively, between 2016 and 2017.

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Income Inequality:

  • The money income Gini index was 0.482 in 2017, not statistically different from 2016. Changes in money income inequality between 2016 and 2017 were not statistically significant as measured by the other indicators: the Theil index, the MLD, or the Atkinson measure.

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Poverty:

  • The official poverty rate in 2017 was 12.3 percent, down 0.4 percentage points from 12.7 percent in 2016. This is the third consecutive annual decline in poverty. Since 2014, the pov­erty rate has fallen 2.5 percent­age points, from 14.8 percent to 12.3 percent.
  • From 2016 to 2017 the number of people in poverty decreased for people in families; people living in the West; people living outside metropolitan statistical areas; all workers; workers who worked less than full-time, year-round; people with a disabil­ity; people with a high school diploma but no college degree; and people with some college but no degree.
  • In 2017, there were 39.7 million people in poverty, not statisti­cally different from the number in poverty in 2016.
  • Between 2016 and 2017, the poverty rate for adults aged 18 to 64 declined 0.4 percentage points, from 11.6 percent to 11.2 percent, while poverty rates for individuals under age 18 and for people aged 65 and older were not statistically different from 2016.
  • Between 2016 and 2017, peo­ple with at least a bachelor’s degree were the only group to have an increase in the poverty rate or the number of people in poverty. Among this group, the poverty rate increased 0.3 percentage points and the number in poverty increased by 363,000 individuals between 2016 and 2017. Even with this increase, among educational attainment groups, people with at least a bachelor’s degree had the lowest poverty rates in 2017.

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Tables

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Figures

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