Lost Decade…and Then Some!


Inquiring minds are reading the WSJ article entitled, “Lost Decade for Family Income” and left wondering about their futures. The article is replete with statistics:

The bureau’s annual snapshot of American living standards also found that the fraction of Americans living in poverty rose sharply to 14.3% from 13.2% in 2008—the highest since 1994. Some 43.6 million Americans were living below the official poverty threshold, but the measure doesn’t fully capture the panoply of government antipoverty measures.

The inflation-adjusted income of the median household—smack in the middle of the populace—fell 4.8% between 2000 and 2009, even worse than the 1970s, when median income rose 1.9% despite high unemployment and inflation. Between 2007 and 2009, incomes fell 4.2%.

The young have been hit the hardest:

The recession has been particularly hard on young workers and young families, in part because they aren’t eligible for as many government benefits as older workers. Younger workers have a harder time qualifying for unemployment benefits because they have a shorter work history.

That has prompted many young adults to move in with family, or put off leaving home in the first place. The number of 25-to-34-year-olds living with their parents rose 8.4% to 5.5 million in 2010 from 2008. Within that age group, 42.8% fell below the poverty threshold—$11,161 for an individual.

The report also showed a steep rise in child poverty, to 23.8% for kids under six in 2009, compared to 21.3% a year earlier.

The Census snapshot indicated that the gap between the best-off and worst-off Americans widened a bit more in 2009, a long-standing trend, but not by much. The top fifth of households accounted for 50.3% of all pre-tax income; the bottom two-fifths got 12%. In 1999, the top fifth claimed 49.4% and the bottom got 12.5% of the income.

Aren’t you glad that the recession ended back in June of ’09?

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