U.S. income levels down 8.3 percent since 2007

Not much changed between 2011 and 2012 in terms of the income and poverty rate. But that doesn't mean things are looking good.
Written by Tyler Falk, Contributor

new report from the United States Census Bureau shows that there was no statistical difference in median household income or the poverty rate between 2011 and 2012. That's somewhat good news considering that for the last four years the poverty rate either increased or median income decreased (or both). But if you take a wider view, the economic situation for households in the U.S. isn't great.

Compared to 2007, the year before the most recent recession, the 2012 median income is 8.3 percent lower and the poverty rate is 2.5 percent higher. And compared with 1999, when median household income was at its peak, 2012 was 9 percent lower.

In 2012, median income was $51,017 (compared to $51,100 in 2011) and the poverty rate was 15 percent (46.5 million people live below the poverty line).

One glimmer of hope the report points to: jobs. There were 2.7 million more people with earnings in 2012 than 2011.

But as Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution told The New York Times of the report: "The poverty and income numbers are a metaphor for the entire economy. Everything's on hold, but at a bad level."

That's not quite the case for the top 1 percent of earners in the U.S. who are close to a full recovery. But for everyone else that recovery is stalled.

Read more: U.S. Census Bureau

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Editorial standards