Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Median Household Income in 2014

Median household income in 2014 was unchanged from 2013, according to the latest release of Current Population Survey income data. This seemingly ho-hum finding is in fact interesting news, revealing how stuck we are in the economic backwash of the Great Recession. The $53,657 median household income of 2014 was not statistically different from the $54,462 median of 2013, the Census Bureau reports. This is the third consecutive year of no statistically significant change in median household income following two years of decline. 

Because the Census Bureau changed the way it asks about income in the Current Population Survey, the 2014 numbers are not comparable with figures prior to 2013 (when respondents were split into two samples for comparative purposes, with one sample asked the new questions and the other the traditional questions). A comparison of 2013 data from the two samples reveals how much better the new questions capture IRA and 401(k) withdrawals, boosting the 2013 estimate of median household income by 3.2 percent.  

One factor that may be suppressing median household income is the aging of the population as millions of boomers retire and live on reduced incomes. But the Census Bureau reports no statistically significant change in median household income for any age group between 2013 and 2014Here are the 2014 numbers...

Median household income by age in 2014
Under age 25: $34,605
Aged 25 to 34: $54,243
Aged 35 to 44: $66,693
Aged 45 to 54: $70,832
Aged 55 to 64: $60,580
Aged 65-plus: $36,895

Source: Census Bureau, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014

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