The Boston Globe | By Deirdre Fernandes and Evan Horowitz
September 13, 2016
Middle-class Americans finally got a raise in 2015. And it was a big one.
After years of glacial economic growth and stagnant wages, median household income jumped 5 percent, or nearly $3,000, from 2014, according to data released Tuesday by the Census Bureau. That’s the first meaningful increase since 2007 and the biggest bounce on record, offering fresh evidence that this economic recovery is now reaching a broader swath of American workers.
“The middle class, is finally, finally, gaining a little bit of traction,” said Chris Christopher, an economist for IHS Inc., a forecasting firm in Lexington. “It’s been a slog to get here.”
Median income (the level at which half of households are above and half are below) climbed to $56,500 last year. When adjusted for inflation it still lags slightly behind 2007 income, but analysts and economists expect it to surpass those levels by 2017.
Incomes rose for virtually every age and demographic group. Non-Hispanic whites saw gains of 4.4 percent, Hispanics earned over 6 percent more, and low-income families got a boost of nearly 8 percent.
Though income inequality continues, the data showed that rising incomes helped lift millions of Americans out of poverty.