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PRESS RELEASE | SEPTEMBER 10, 2019 Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the U.S.: 2018 The median household income was not statistically different from the 2017 median, and the official poverty rate decreased 0.5 percentage points from 2017.

SEPT. 10, 2019 — The U.S. Census Bureau announced today the median household income was not statistically different from the 2017 median, and the official poverty rate decreased 0.5 percentage points from 2017. At the same time, the rate and number of people without health insurance increased from 7.9%, or 25.6 million, in 2017 to 8.5%, or 27.5 million, in 2018.

Median household income was $63,179 in 2018, not statistically different from the 2017 median, following three consecutive years of annual increases. Between 2017 and 2018, the real median earnings of all workers increased 3.4% to $40,247. The 2018 real median earnings of men and women who worked full-time, year-round increased by 3.4% and 3.3%, respectively, between 2017 and 2018. The difference between the 2017-2018 percent changes in median earnings for men and women working full-time, year round was not statistically significant. The number of full-time, year-round workers increased by 2.3 million, between 2017 and 2018. The number of men and women full-time, year-round workers increased by about 700,000 and 1.6 million, respectively.

The official poverty rate in 2018 was 11.8%, a decrease of 0.5 percentage points from 2017. This is the fourth consecutive annual decline in the national poverty rate. In 2018, for the first time in 11 years, the official poverty rate was significantly lower than 2007, the year before the most recent recession. The number of people in poverty in 2018 was 38.1 million, 1.4 million fewer people than 2017.

The percentage of people with health insurance coverage for all or part of 2018 was 91.5%, lower than the rate in 2017 (92.1%). Between 2017 and 2018, the percentage of people with public coverage decreased 0.4 percentage points, and the percentage of people with private coverage did not statistically change.

These findings are contained in two reports: Income and Poverty in the United States: 2018 and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2018.

Another Census Bureau report, The Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2018, was also released today. The supplemental poverty rate in 2018 was 13.1%, not statistically different from the 2017 supplemental poverty rate of 13.0%. The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) provides an alternative way of measuring poverty in the United States and serves as an additional indicator of economic well-being. The Census Bureau has published poverty estimates using the SPM annually since 2011 with the collaboration of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.   

The Current Population Survey, sponsored jointly by the Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics, is conducted every month and is the primary source of labor force statistics for the U.S. population; it is used to calculate the monthly unemployment rate estimates. Supplements are added in most months; the Annual Social and Economic Supplement is designed to give annual, national estimates of income, poverty and health insurance numbers and rates. The most recent Annual Social and Economic Supplement was conducted nationwide (February, March and April 2019) and collected information about income and health insurance coverage during the 2018 calendar year.

The Current Population Survey-based income and poverty report includes comparisons with the previous year, and historical tables in the report contain statistics back to 1959. The health insurance report is based on both the Current Population Survey and the American Community Survey. State and local income, poverty and health insurance estimates from the American Community Survey will be released Thursday, Sept. 26.

For the first time, income, poverty and health insurance measures in these reports will reflect important changes to the processing system for the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC). These reports present year-to-year comparisons from 2017 to 2018 based on data edited using the updated processing system for both years. In some cases, 2017 estimates may differ from values published in September 2018, which were created using the legacy processing system. For more information on the updates to the processing system see the CPS ASEC Redesign and Processing Changes.

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