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U.S. Incomes Surged, Poverty Fell to 60-Year Low Before Virus

  • Figures show Americans’ finances were improving in 2019
  • But share of people without health insurance rose last year
Pedestrians wearing protective masks cross a street in Queens, New York, on June 27.
Photographer: Amir Hamja/Bloomberg
Updated on

Income was surging for U.S. households while the national poverty rate fell in 2019, indicating the finances of many Americans were improving before the Covid-19 pandemic upended the U.S. economy and threw millions out of work.

Median, inflation-adjusted household income increased 6.8% last year to $68,703 -- among the fastest gains on record -- as more Americans got jobs and wages rose, according to annual data released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. The poverty rate fell by 1.3 percentage point to 10.5%, the lowest in data back to 1959 and the fifth straight decline.