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Inequality Persists Despite U.S. Progress on Incomes and Poverty

  • Gaps narrow but remain wide by earnings level, gender, race
  • Increase in incomes may reflect more growth in jobs than wages
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NYU Stern's Peter Henry discusses his research on income inequality

Steady U.S. economic growth helped household incomes climb to a record and reduced poverty last year, according to Census Bureau data released Tuesday. Yet inequality remained evident across income levels, race and gender, indicating there’s work to be done to improve the lot of all Americans.

Median inflation-adjusted household income increased 3.2 percent from a year earlier to $59,039, the bureau said in an annual report. The poverty rate declined to 12.7 percent, representing 40.6 million Americans, from 13.5 percent in 2015.