Shaquita Ogletree
On Wednesday, September 12, the U.S. Census Bureau released new data on income and poverty in the United States for the year 2017. According to the data released, the U.S. poverty rate declined to 12.3 percent in 2017 for the third consecutive year accounting for 39.7 million people living in poverty. The poverty rate for children under age 18 was 17.5 percent. The poverty rate for people aged 18 to 64 was 11.2 percent, down 0.4 percent from 2016.

The overall median household income increased by 1.8 percent. In 2017 the median income was $61,372 from the $60,309 in the previous year. This is the third consecutive annual increase. Racial and regional breakdowns showed the median income increased for the third consecutive year for non-Hispanic white household income increasing by 2.6 percent and for Hispanics household’s income increased by 3.7 percent. By geography, the West was the only region of the country to experience a decrease in poverty with 11.8 percent compared to 12.8 percent in 2016, the Northeast and the South poverty rate remains the same with the South having the highest poverty rate in 2017 at 13.6 percent. The 2017 poverty rate increased for one group—people with at least a bachelor’s degree.

Some other data points:

• 17.5 percent of children living in poverty in 2017, compared to 18 percent in 2016. This equals 450,000 less children in poverty. The poverty threshold for a family of four in 2017 was $24,858. The Census reports that this is not statistically significant from 2016.
• Children represented 32.3 percent of people in poverty, the official poverty rate dipped below its pre-recession (2007) level of 12.5 percent for the first time, reflecting economic growth of recent years. By category poverty was at:

o 29 percent for black children
o 25 percent for Hispanic children
o 10.9 percent for white children

2017 was the sixth straight year that the economy added more than 2 million jobs, according to Labor Department data.

For the supplemental poverty measure, the child poverty rate was 15.6 percent when considering programs such as SNAP and tax credits. Tax credits lifted 4.5 million children out poverty; SNAP lifted 1.47 million, housing assistance 900,000, school lunch program 700,000, child support 520,000, SSI 472,000, and TANF 296,000. To read the report, click here.