Poor and middle-class Americans struggling to get by since the financial crisis and recession don’t need official statistics to drive this point home.
Nonetheless, the U.S. Census Bureau released figures Tuesday that shows the nation’s poverty rate fell slightly last year as more Americans moved from part-time work to full-time employment.
But the number of people in poverty remains at 45.3 million.
And wages barely kept pace with inflation, so no significant change to incomes was reported.
The Census said median household income in the U.S. last year was just below $52,000, about where it was in 2012, with adjustments made for inflation.
That household income figure is 8 percent lower than it was in 2007, the last full year before the full impact of the Great Recession was felt. The figure is 11 percent below where it was in 2000.
Incomes have stagnated for all but the richest Americans. Income remains 8% lower than in 2007, the year before the economic downturn.
The poverty rate in 2013 was 14.5 percent, down from 15 percent in 2012. That marks the first decline in the poverty rate since 2006, a year before the recession began.
However, the number of Americans living at or below the poverty line, about 45 million, did not change. The decline in the rate was attributed to population growth.
One in five children in the country are living in poverty, the census said. The 20 percent poverty rate for children represented a drop of two percentage points from 2012.