Americans’ household incomes still haven’t caught up to where they were before the recession, but they’ve stopped losing ground to inflation, the Census Bureau said Tuesday.
Median household incomes after inflation stabilized in 2012, following two annual declines, the bureau reported. Adjusted for inflation, median household income was $51,017 last year, not statistically different from the 2011 median of $51,100. The median is the point where half are below and half are above.
The report paints a picture of an economy that has absorbed the impact of the 2008 financial crisis, but has not yet recovered from the damage, said Sheldon Danziger, president of the Russell Sage Foundation. Inflation-adjusted household incomes are 8.3% below their cyclical peak in 2007, and even further below their all-time peak in 1999, according to the Census.
“Poverty is higher today than it was in 2000, and household incomes are lower,” Danziger said. “The ‘lost decade’ is likely to turn into ‘two lost decades.’”