Being white, rich, and Living in a Blue State is Good

The Census Bureau released two critical reports demonstrating a lot about American society in 2017. Together, they highlight the widening gap between the rich and those living in poverty, the advantages of living in blue states, and the racism that still dominates much of American life.

Income and Poverty in the United States 2017 offered the following facts:

  • The median household income in the US was $61,372. This means half of American families earned less and half earned more than $61,372 in 2017.
  • The $61,372 median household income when adjusted for inflation and reported in 2017 dollars isn’t much different than was the household median income in either 2007 or 1999.
  • The median income grew at a rate of 1.8 percent in 2017. In 2016, the median income grew at a rate of 3.2 percent. In 2015, the median income grew at rate of 5.2 percent.
  • The extra pay from someone else in the home working and/or someone working additional hours was cited as the biggest reason for the increase in household median income from 2016 to 2017.
  • Between 2007 and 2017, those with incomes at or above the 90th percentile (meaning they earned more than 90 percent of households) saw their incomes grow by 7.5 percent. Households earning in the bottom 10 percent saw their incomes decrease by 4.5 percent from 2007 to 2017.
  • The median income for whites rose by 1.5 percent from 2007 to 2017. During that same time period, the median income for African-Americans dropped by 2.9 percent.
  • The poverty rate was 12.3 percent in 2017. That was the lowest level of recorded poverty since the Great Recession.
  • The 12.3 percent poverty rate in 2017 is a full percentage point higher than was the poverty rate in 2000.
  • In 2017, 39.7 million Americans were living in poverty.
  • Asians had the lowest poverty rate at 10.1 percent.
  • The poverty rate for whites was 11 percent.
  • The poverty rate for Latinos was 19.4 percent.
  • The poverty rate for African-Americans was 22.4 percent.

Health Insurance Coverage in the United States 2017 presented the following important findings:

  • The number of uninsured in 2017 was 28.5 million, or about 8.8 percent. Those numbers were statistically unchanged from 2016.
  • The number of uninsured dropped every year from 2010 through 2016.
  • Between 2016 and 2017, the number of uninsured decreased in three states but rose in 14 states. No state had seen an increase in its uninsured population since 2013.
  • Texas, Oklahoma, Alaska, Georgia, Florida, and Wyoming all had uninsured rates of at least 12 percent. Texas led the way with an uninsured rate of 17.3 percent.
  • Massachusetts had the lowest rate of uninsured people at 2.8 percent. Five other states: Hawaii; Iowa; Minnesota; Rhode Island; and Vermont all had uninsured rates under five percent.
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