Four Charts That Show How Much Poverty and Income Have Improved in the U.S.

A very solid 2015.

According to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, last year saw poverty in the U.S. decline the most in 16 years.  

The report released on Tuesday morning shows the official poverty rate in the United States declined to 13.5 percent in 2015, a 1.2 percentage drop from 2014. That is the largest drop seen on a year-over-year basis since 1998 and 1999. 

"The Census figures released today are a reminder that when you run the economy at or near full employment, the gains from economic growth spread to more people," said Neil Dutta, head of U.S. economics at Renaissance Macro Research. "Considering that cyclical measures such as durable goods spending and business investment remain low relative to GDP, there is room for continued growth."

Here are four charts that illustrate just how large of a drop this was. 

The first shows that this the only other year that saw poverty rates decline at a faster clip was 1966, when the Bureau implemented a different methodology.

U.S. Census Bureau

The next takes a look at poverty rates based on demographic and geographic factors. The data is largely optimistic for most. All major age groups saw declines in poverty, and most racial and ethnic groups also saw declines, and all regions outside of the Northeast experienced declines as well.

With poverty rates declining, incomes have also been rising. This chart shows that real median household income rose 5.2 percent in 2015, to just over $56,000. This was the first significant increase since start of recession.

The final chart takes a look at income trends based on demographics and geographical locations as well. Again, things were bright for many groups. Those between the ages of 35 and 44 saw the largest increase in income, at 7.0 percent, while all geographical regions saw incomes rise. Incomes also increased for immigrants as well as women and men that work full-time. 

 

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