Times are not equal. Constant has been the debate of what has brought about widening disparities in income and wealth at our age. The subject is of interest such that researchers have taken their time to inquire into the trends of income or wealth inequality in the United States. We know very little about the distribution of income and wealth and how they have evolved in the long run. Those at the top and the middle of the distribution are affected differently by changes in equity and house prices. Housing booms help the middle-class households and tend to decrease wealth inequality.

  • Income and Wealth 1949

In the postwar period, average family income decreased by 100 US dollars from 1948-1949. Income of the average family was $3100 in 1949. The figure was lower than that of 1948 but bigger by about 500 US dollars compared to that of medians for the war years.

Although the figures indicated a slight decline in average annual family income in 1949, evidence still exists which shows that some groups in the population were severely affected. The most affected were families headed by self-employed workers. Income to farmers decreased by 27%. They used to average $2000 dollars, but in 1949 they averaged an average income of $1400. This decrease was explained by the Department of Agriculture. The department attributed the reduction to the general downward trend in farm product prices.

Among families of non-agricultural workers, some evidence shows that families headed by a person who worked in the mining industry also realized a decline in average income; due to reduced working hours in the mines.

  • Various Census from 1949

In 1960 average family size had increased and was estimated to be 6 or more people. Average family income was 6,691 US dollars, 57.9% higher than that of 1950. Median family income was $5620. 36.1% of families had incomes below 5000US dollars, and 18.9 5 families had incomes under 3000 US dollars.

In 1970 the median money income of families was $9,870. It was a 440 US dollars improvement from the 1969 figure of $9,430. 8.9% of the 51.9 million families received incomes below 3000 US dollars. The bracket of 3000-5000US dollars had 5.13 million families, 11. 8 percent had income between 5000-7000 US dollars. The number of families with revenue of 10000 US dollars increased by from 46.9% in 1969 to 49. 1 percent in 1970.

In 1980, median household income was US dollars 17,710, an improvement of 7.6 % from 1979. After adjusting for a 13.5 percent increase in the cost of consumer goods, real median household income declined by 5.2 percent.

Households experienced a real income decline between 1989 and 1990. The household income declined in real terms by 1.7% from US dollars 30,468 to $29,493.

Statistically, real median household income did not change. Between 1999 and 2000 the figure was $42,148, and the highest ever recorded in history. For five consecutive years, the economy experienced an annual increase.

2010 real median household income was $49,445 indicating a 2.3 percent decline from the 2009 median household income. The poverty rate was at 15.1 percent up from 14.3 % in 2009.

In 2015, median household income was $56,516 a 5.2 percent increase from the year 2014. The figure was, however, low compared to that of 2007 by a 1.6%. Compared to the 2009 median household income, 2015 value was again low by 2.4 percent. The years 2007 and 1999 are used here since 2007 was the immediate year before the financial crisis, and the year 1999 was the peak year of annual increase.

In the US household income determines the poverty line. Statistics show that in the year 2015, 13.5% of the Americans were living in poverty.

  • The Year 2016

Between the year 2015 and 2016, the real median household income increased by 2.4 percent. 2016’s median household income was $57,617. The poverty rate in 2016 was at 12.7 percent depicting a decline of 0.8% from 13.5% in 2015. 40.6 million People were in poverty, 2.5 fewer than 2015 and 6.0 million less than the year 2014. The figures show the second consecutive decline in poverty levels from the year 2014.

In conclusion, household income which determines the wealth of a nation had increased all through from 1949 to 2016 except in the year 2008 when there was a recession. Increase in figures may not show the real picture on the ground. The statistics are general from different states. Information given is therefore of general nature. The year 2010 households or families had high income compared to 2000 households. However, the 2000 household could afford to purchase more commodities compared to the 2010 families. As earlier on said, times are not equal!

 

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