Census: Household Incomes Up, Poverty Down in 2017

Median household incomes grew and the national poverty rate fell for the third consecutive year in 2017, according to new Census Bureau estimates.

Wisconsin’s median household income rose more than $1,000 to $59,305 in 2017. Twenty one states had higher median incomes, including Minnesota ($68,388) and Illinois ($62,992), according to estimates released Thursday. The national median household income was $61,372.

Wisconsin’s poverty rate was 11.3 percent, statistically unchanged from the previous year and below the national rate of 12.3 percent. The poverty rate among Wisconsin families was 7.1 percent, down from 7.7 percent last year and 9.2 percent in 2013.

Nationwide household income grew by 1.8 percent after adjusting for inflation, but not everyone enjoyed the same gains. Those in the top 5 percent saw income grow by 3 percent, nearly double the rate of those in the middle.

There was also a 1.1 percent decline in median earnings for full-time workers, which is likely the result of more people joining the workforce and starting at the bottom of the pay scale, said Trudi Renwick, the Census Bureau’s assistant division chief of economic characteristics.