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Rebounding Incomes and Poverty Declines Followed Historic Deterioration

Weekly Economic Snapshot 9/12 - 9/15

Economic Facts for this Week

Chart of the Week


 Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released new data on poverty and the incomes of America’s households for 2016. The release marks the remarkable rebound in incomes of the median household and easing of poverty incidence achieved by the Obama administration in recovery from the Great Recession: in 2016, median household income rose to $59,039 and child poverty rates fell to 18 percent. However, the strength of this recovery through 2016 belies the substantial economic ground lost by millions of Americans in the recession and preceding years. By the end of the 1990s boom, median household income reached an historic peak of nearly $59,000, while poverty rates for children (16.2 percent) and Americans overall (11.3 percent) had largely reversed the deepening poverty experienced through the early 1980s.

Under the economic expansion of the 2000s, despite more than 6 years of growth, median household income fells and poverty spiked up, failing to recover to their pre-Bush economy levels before the Great Recession and financial crisis hit. Policy actions led by the Obama administration stopped the freefall of recession and laid a foundation for recovery. However, by 2016, median household income was only $374 above the 1999 peak and poverty remained significantly elevated above the lows reached in 2000.


  • Fraudulent mortgage originations through so-called “Liar’s Loans” were bundled into securities and marketed to unwitting investors in the run-up to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. They accounted for one-fourth of total market losses through foreclosure in the United States, or $125 billion.
  • Venture Capital senior partners with more daughters were not only more likely to hire women at their firm, improving gender diversity problems endemic in technology and finance industries, but also improved the financial performance of individual deals and overall funds.

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