Census Bureau: U.S. Household Income Jumped 7 Percent in 2019

The income of American households rose rapidly in 2019 during President Donald Trump's lower-immigration, higher-growth economy, according to data published Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.
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The income of American households rose rapidly in 2019 during President Donald Trump’s lower-immigration, higher-growth economy, according to data published Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Wages for full-time male employees at the midpoint of the national wage scale grew by an average of 2.1 percent to $57,456. Median full-time female employees gained 2.5 percent, up to $47,299, says the September 15 report, titled “Income and Poverty in the United States: 2019.”

An extra 2.2 million jobs helped to expand the number of people with jobs in each household, so the “median household income increased 6.8 percent to $68,703 between 2018 and 2019,” before the coronavirus crashed the economy in early 2020, the report said.

“It was a pretty banner year for households, and really across the income distribution, we got a lot of eye-popping figures in this release,” David Deull, the top economist at IHS Markit, told the Wall Street Journal.

The report includes a chart that shows Trump’s boom amid a historical trend of flat wages since 1973. The Trump economy is displayed by the rising income curve at the 2019 end of the decades-long chart:

 

The poverty rate for married couples dropped by 0.7 percent to just 4 percent, according to the report. The poverty rate for single women with children dropped by 2.6 percent to 22.2 percent.

All races gained. Household income for whites grew 5.7 percent, while Latino households gained 7.1 percent, black households gained 7.9 percent, and Asian households gained 10.6 percent. The higher growth among non-whites is partly caused by larger families and younger average ages among non-whites.

The report said:

The poverty rate for Whites decreased 1.0 percentage point to 9.1 percent. The poverty rate for Blacks decreased by 2.0 percentage points to 18.8 percent. The poverty rate for Hispanics decreased by 1.8 percentage points to 15.7 percent.

The number of people in poverty fell to 34.0 million, which was roughly 4.2 million fewer than in 2018, amid the inflow of many poor illegal immigrants. Nationwide, legal immigrants who earned citizenship had a poverty rate of 9 percent in 2019, while non-citizen migrants had a poverty rate of 16.3 percent or roughly one-in-six.

The rising inflow of immigrants since 1965 has helped to preserve a large poor population in the United States:

 

However, immigrants also gained from the economy, with a median household income gain of roughly 8.5 percent.

Trump’s economy grew wages at all income levels, partly because immigration curbs forced employers to share some of their extra profits with blue-collar employees. In December 2019, Breitbart News reported:

Wages for blue-collar Americans are rising by 4.3 percent in 2019 — or 2.7 percent after inflation — in President Donald Trump’s tightening labor market, according to Goldman Sachs.

In contrast, white-collar salaries are rising at a much slower rate amid the bipartisan policy of inviting roughly 1.5 million foreign graduates to take the jobs needed by U.S. graduates.

The Wall Street Journal noted the income shares did not diverge during Trump’s boom:

Several measures of income disparity showed little change. The top fifth of households—with incomes above $142,500—collected 51.9% of income, while the top 5%—with incomes above $270,000—collected 23%. The lowest fifth—making less than $28,100—collected 3.1% of income. A household at the 80th percentile collected about twice the income of a household at the 50th percentile—the median—and five times the income of a household at the 20th percentile.

However, the income charts do not show the growth of wealth by people who own stocks.

 

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