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Income and Poverty in the United States: 2020

Report Number P60-273
Emily A. Shrider, Melissa Kollar, Frances Chen, and Jessica Semega

Introduction

This report presents data on income, earnings, income inequality, and poverty in the United States based on information collected in the 2021 and earlier Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplements (CPS ASEC) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Highlights

Income:

  • Median household income was $67,521 in 2020, a decrease of 2.9 percent from the 2019 median of $69,560 (Figure 1 and Table A-1). This is the first statistically significant decline in median household income since 2011.
  • The 2020 real median incomes of family households and nonfamily households decreased 3.2 percent and 3.1 percent from their respective 2019 estimates (Figure 1 and Table A-1).
  • The 2020 real median household incomes of non-Hispanic Whites, Asians, and Hispanics decreased from their 2019 medians, while the changes for Black households was not statistically different (Figure 1 and Table A-1). 
  • In 2020, real median household incomes decreased 3.2 percent in the Midwest and 2.3 percent in the South and the West from their 2019 medians. The change for the Northeast was not statistically significant (Figure 1 and Table A-1). 

Earnings:

  • The real median earnings of all workers aged 15 and over with earnings decreased 1.2 percent between 2019 and 2020 from $42,065 to $41,535 (Figure 4 and Table A-6).
  • The total number of those who worked full-time, year-round declined 13.7 million between 2019 and 2020. The number of female full-time, year-round workers decreased by about 6.2 million, while the decrease for their male counterparts was approximately 7.5 million (Figure 6 and Table A-7).
  • In 2020, real median earnings of those who worked full-time, year-round increased 6.9 percent from their 2019 estimate. Median earnings of men ($61,417) and women ($50,982) who worked full-time, year-round increased by 5.6 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively (Figure 4 and Table A-6).

Poverty:

  • The official poverty rate in 2020 was 11.4 percent, up 1.0 percentage point from 10.5 percent in 2019.  This is the first increase in poverty after five consecutive annual declines (Figure 8 and Table B-4).
  •  In 2020, there were 37.2 million people in poverty, approximately 3.3 million more than in 2019 (Figure 8 and Table B-1).
  • Between 2019 and 2020, the poverty rate increased for non-Hispanic Whites and Hispanics. Among non-Hispanic Whites, 8.2 percent were in poverty in 2020, while Hispanics had a poverty rate of 17.0 percent. Among the major racial groups examined in this report, Blacks had the highest poverty rate (19.5 percent), but did not experience a significant change from 2019. The poverty rate for Asians (8.1 percent) in 2020 was not statistically different from 2019 (Figure 9 and Table B-1).
  • Poverty rates for people under the age of 18 increased from 14.4 percent in 2019 to 16.1 percent in 2020. Poverty rates also increased for people aged 18 to 64 from 9.4 percent in 2019 to 10.4 percent in 2020. The poverty rate for people aged 65 and older was 9.0 percent in 2020, not statistically different from 2019 (Figure 9 and Table B-1).
  • Between 2019 and 2020, poverty rates increased for married-couple families and families with a female householder. The poverty rate for married-couple families increased from 4.0 percent in 2019 to 4.7 percent in 2020. For families with a female householder, the poverty rate increased from 22.2 percent to 23.4 percent. The poverty rate for families with a male householder was 11.4 percent in 2020, not statistically different from 2019 (Figure 12 and Table B-2).

Tables

Figures

Source Information

For information on confidentiality protection, sampling error, nonsampling error, and definitions, see https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/cps/techdocs/cpsmar21.pdf [PDF - <1.0 MB].

The Census Bureau reviewed this data product for unauthorized disclosure of confidential information and approved the disclosure avoidance practices applied to this release. CBDRB-FY21-282.

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