Dec. 31, 2014
The vast majority of Americans are poorer than they were in the last year of the 20th Century, according to new data.
When they crunched the economic numbers, Washington Post researchers discovered that the average household income in 81 percent of the counties in the United States was lower in 2013 than it was in 1999, when adjusted for inflation.
“Over the past 25 years, the economy has grown 83 percent, after adjusting for inflation — and the typical family’s income hasn’t budged,” a Post series, entitled, “Why America’s Middle Class is lost,” concluded.
Income in Most US Communities Falling
A Post interactive map shows that incomes in many communities is substantially less than they were in 1969. It also shows that large numbers of Americans are now in danger of falling out of the middle class.
Following are some of the highlights of the map:
- Incomes in 210 US counties actually peaked in 1969.
- Incomes in 572 US counties peaked in 1979.
- Incomes in 141 US counties peaked in 1989.
- Incomes in 1,623 US counties peaked in 1999.
Of the 3,139 counties surveyed by The Post, only 380 had incomes that were at their highest in 2013.
The takeaway? The average American family and the average US community are not sharing in the economic growth or economic recovery. It also indicates that many communities, including some big cities, have seen substantial drops in income in the past five decades.
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In many American communities, income is now substantially lower than it was in 1969 or 1979, the Market Madhouse blog noted. Some disturbing revelations include:
- The average household income in Miami-Dade County, Florida, peaked at $50,571 in 1969, when US troops were still fighting in Vietnam, according to The Post. The average household income in Miami in 2013 was $43,100.
- The average inflation-adjusted household income in Clark County, Nevada (Las Vegas), peaked at $62,352 in 1969. The average household income in Clark County in 2013 was $52,873, according to the US Census Bureau.
- The average household income in Cook County, Illinois (Chicago), peaked at $64,949 in 1969. The average household income in 2013 was $54,548, according to the US Census Bureau.
- The average household income in Fresno County, California, peaked at $50,461 in 1979. The average household income in 2013 was $45,563, or nearly $5,000 lower than it was when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan.
- The average household income in Harris County, Texas (Houston), peaked at $66,759 in 1979. The median household income was $53,137 in 2013, according to the US Census Bureau.
- The average household income in Saginaw County, Michigan, peaked at $59,285 in 1979. The average household income there was $42,331 in 2013.
It seems that “recovery” is just a topic on the news for the vast majority of American communities.
Do you believe America’s middle class will recover? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the section below: