On Tuesday, September 15, the U.S. Census Bureau released new data on income and poverty in the United States for 2019. According to the data, the median household income shows the highest on record number and declines in the official poverty rate.

According to the data released, the U.S. poverty rate declined to 10.5 percent in 2019 for the fifth consecutive year accounting for 34.0 million people living in poverty. This year is the lowest poverty rate observed since the estimates were initially published in 1959. The poverty rate for children under age 18 was 14.4 percent. Children under the age of 18 accounted for 22.4 percent of the total population and 30.8 percent of the people living in poverty. The poverty rate for people aged 18 to 64 was 9.4 percent, down 1.2 percent from 2018.

The overall median household income increased by 6.8 percent. In 2019 the median income was $68,703 from the $64,324 in the previous year. This is the fifth consecutive annual increase in median income. Racial and regional breakdowns showed the median income increased in the prior year for White, Black, Asian, and Hispanic households, and all regions in 2019.

Some other data points from the Census report included:

  • The poverty rate for non-Hispanic Whites dropped to 7.3 percent (14.2 million); for Asians to 7.3 percent (1.5 million), for Blacks to 18.8 percent (8.1 million), and Hispanic to 15.7 percent (9.5 million).
  • In 2019, related children accounted for 14.1 percent or 10.2 million living in poverty.
  • Full-time, year-round workers increased by approximately 1.2 million between 2018 and 2019.
  • The real median income for men in 2019 was $57,456 compared to $47,299 for women who worked full-time, year-round.
  • For the second consecutive year, Asian household’s median income has been the highest among the race groups.
  • Real median household income in 2019 for householders aged 45 to 54 was the highest at $92,221.

For the supplemental poverty measure, the child poverty rate was 12.5 percent when considering programs such as SNAP and tax credits. Tax credits lifted 4.0 million children out of poverty. According to analysts at the Census Bureau, they estimated that poverty would have been around 11.1 percent, compared to the 10.5 percent, if the pandemic did not interrupt the potential response surveys.

Like so much of the 2019 data and key indicators, this represents a snapshot of the country before the pandemic started earlier this year.


To read the Income and Poverty in the United States report, click here.