Sept. 17, 2012: Household Incomes Decline, Poverty Rates Flat

The median household income fell slightly in 2011, continuing a trend that began with the Great Recession of 2008, although poverty rates remained about flat from a year ago, according to a report last week from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The report, based on U.S. Census data, noted that about 46.2 million people were living in poverty in 2011 — with income of about $23,000 or less — or about 15% of the population, down from 15.1% in 2010. That compares with a poverty rate of about 12.2% in the year 2000. The median annual household income was $50,054 in 2011, down from $50,831 in 2010, and off 8.1% from the all-time high of $54,489 in 2007. Participation in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamps) has increased about 70% in that time, with more than 44.7 million Americans now enrolled, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.