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Census Report: Income Down; Poverty Up

It may come as little surprise to Americans who have suffered through the "jobless recovery" of the past two years, but Census data released Tuesday confirms the pain many are feeling: Real wages declined between 2009 and 2010 -- the latest figures available. Poverty has hit a 52-year high and is on the rise.

Here are the facts:

  • Real median household income (that's inflation-adjusted income) declined 2.3% in 2010 to $49,445.
  • Since the recession started in 2007, median household income is down 6.4% from $52,823.
  • Over the past decade, households have lost even more ground. In 1999, the median household income was 7.1% higher at $53,252.
  • The pain was not evenly distributed, however. Black households suffered the greatest decline, losing 10.1% of household income since 2007. Those over the age of 65 saw household income increase by 5.5% since 2007.
  • Roughly 9.4 million individuals have lost their full-time jobs since 2007. There are roughly 6.6 million fewer men in the full-time workforce and 2.8 million fewer women.
  • The national poverty rate has hit 15.1% of the population now lives in poverty -- up from 14.3% in 2009 and from 12.5% in 2007.
  • The Census reports that 46.2 million individuals now live in poverty, up from 43.6 million in 2009. This is the highest number of people living in poverty since statistics were first kept in 1959 -- a 52-year high.
  • As my MoneyWatch colleague Mark Thoma reports, Americans are coping with the dire numbers by doubling-up. The number of adults sharing households increased by 2 million to 21.8 million households, accounting for 18.3% of the population. This largely reflects young adults moving in with parents to cope with unemployment and under-employment.
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