Thursday, September 10, 2009

Household Incomes Fell in 2008

It is no surprise that median household income fell between 2007 and 2008, but the size of the decline is surprising. The big news in the Census Bureau's release of 2008 income data today is the statistically significant decline in median household income in all but the oldest age group (65 plus). Overall, median household income fell by a substantial 3.6 percent between 2007 and 2008, to $50,300 after adjusting for inflation. That is down from $52,163 in 2007 (in 2008 dollars), a loss of nearly $2,000 per household. Householders aged 45 to 54 experienced the greatest decline, with their median income falling by 5.4 percent in the past year (a loss of more than $3,600).

Other interesting findings:

Average household size INCREASED between 2007 and 2008 (rising from 2.56 to 2.57 persons per household), despite the aging of the population. Behind the increase was a DECLINE in the number of people living alone as the recession forced people to double up in homes and apartments.

The number of households headed by people under age 25 FELL between 2007 and 2008 as young adults found it increasingly difficult to strike out on their own. This decline occurred despite the large Millennial generation in the age group.

The number of 45-to-64-year-olds without health insurance climbed by 571,000. The percentage who are uninsured in this most vulnerable age group rose to 14.4 percent.

There is no doubt that these numbers are just a preview of what is to come as the Great Recession unfolds.

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