Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau released its annual Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States report. The document, which covers 2012, revealed that little progress was made between 2011 and 2012 toward reducing poverty, closing the income gap, or increasing median household income. It also clearly demonstrates the damage that the late-2000s crisis had on the economic well-being of Americans.
Income inequality has increased steadily in the United States, even as the stock market has recovered most of its losses; the Dow Jones Industrial average doubled from the low it hit in March 2009. The housing market has also shown signs of recovery, and with three years of steady increases, the official poverty rate remained flat in 2012 at 15 percent. Yet for an increasing number of working families, economic security is out reach. Between 2007 and 2011, the share of working families considered low income, meaning their earnings are 200 percent of the official poverty threshold, increased from 28 percent to 32 percent nationally.
Here are some highlights from the report and elsewhere that demonstrate how income inequality in the U.S. remains a huge problem, and how we haven’t necessarily made any improvement in the past few years.