Median household income for the United States and 14 states increased significantly in 2018 from the previous year, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released today.
The 2018 American Community Survey (ACS) shows that median household income rose between 2017 and 2018 for 10 of the 25 most populous metropolitan areas.
Median household income for the nation has been increasing every year since 2013, but the year-to-year increase from 2017 is smaller than the prior three years.
However, the Gini index of income inequality was significantly higher during the same period for the nation and nine states.
The ACS provides detailed estimates of demographic, social, economic and housing characteristics for states, congressional districts, counties, places and other localities every year.
The estimates contained in a report released today are primarily based on the 2017 and 2018 ACS. All the dollar estimates in this story have been inflation-adjusted to 2018 dollars.
Real median household income in the United States increased 0.8% to $61,937 between 2017 and 2018.
Median household income for the nation has been increasing every year since 2013, but the year-to-year increase from 2017 is smaller than the prior three years. Previously, increases ranged between 1.8% and 3.3% annually.
This was the second consecutive year that U.S. median household income was higher than 2005, when the ACS was fully implemented.
Median household income in 2018 was higher than 2005 median household income for 31 states and the District of Columbia and lower in five states and Puerto Rico. In 14 states, differences were not statistically significant.
This was also the second consecutive year that U.S. median household income was higher than median household income in 2007, the year before the latest recession. It was also higher than before the recession in 20 states and the District of Columbia.
Median household income in 2018 was still lower than pre-recession median household income in nine states and Puerto Rico. In 21 states, differences were not statistically significant.
Maryland ($83,242) was among the states with the highest median household income and West Virginia ($44,097) was among the lowest.
The median household income for the District of Columbia was $85,203 and for Maryland was $83,242, not statistically different from the median household income for the District of Columbia. The median household income for Puerto Rico was $20,296.
Income was lower than the U.S. median in 29 states and Puerto Rico and was higher in 18 states and the District of Columbia.
Between the 2017 ACS and the 2018 ACS, 14 states showed an increase in real median household income. Maine had a decrease of 3.3%.
Median household income in 2018 ranged from $107,898 in the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA Metro Area to $54,912 in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL Metro Area.
Median household income increased in 10 of the most populous metropolitan areas between 2017 and 2018. None experienced a statistically significant decrease.
Median household income between 2017 and 2018 increased for all households across all major race and Hispanic origin groups.
Median household income ranged from $87,243 for Asian households (up 2.1%) to $41,511 for black households (up 1.5%).
Median household income for households with non-Hispanic white householders increased by 1.0% to $67,937 in 2018. Households with Hispanic householders increased by 1.5% to $51,404 in 2018.
The year-to-year percent changes between the groups were not significantly different from one another.
Real median household income between 2017 and 2018 increased for households across most age groups.
It was highest for those ages 45 to 64 ($75,289) and those ages 25 to 44 ($68,817). It was lowest for those under age 25 ($33,389).
For those age 65 and older, the median income was $44,992, not statistically different from 2017.
The Gini index for the United States from the 2018 ACS (0.485) was significantly higher than the 2017 ACS estimate (0.482).
The index increased in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Texas and Virginia.
The District of Columbia (0.524) and Puerto Rico (0.542) had the highest Gini indexes and Utah (0.427) was among the lowest.
Five states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico had Gini indexes higher than the index for the United States and 37 states with Gini indexes lower than the U.S. index.
The ACS is conducted every month, and income data is collected for the 12 months preceding the interview. Since the survey is continuous, adjacent ACS years have income reference months in common.
Comparing the 2017 ACS with the 2018 ACS is not an exact comparison of economic conditions in 2017 and 2018. For example, a respondent interviewed in June and asked about their income during the past 12 months would report income for five months in 2018 and seven months in 2017. A respondent interviewed in December would report income during 11 months of 2018 and one month of 2017.
Comparisons between 2017 and 2018 for Delaware and the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD Metro Area are not made in this story.
Gloria Guzman is a survey statistician in the Income Statistics Branch of the Census Bureau’s Social, Economic and Housing Statistics Division.