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The US became richer and better educated in the second half of the 2010s

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Census-American Community Survey (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

The US became richer, better educated, less impoverished and less transient during the second half of the last decade, according to data released Thursday by the US Census Bureau.

The nation’s median household income, which had been nearly $54,000 from 2011 to 2015, rose to nearly $65,000 during the 2016 to 2020 period, which was the tail end of the longest expansion in the history of US business cycles. US, based on American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.

With the exception of Colorado, the states with the largest gains in household income were mostly on the coast. The Rocky Mountain state joined the District of Columbia, California, Massachusetts and Washington with home jumps ranging from $15,000 to $20,000. The smallest earnings, of $6,000 or less, were in Alaska, Louisiana and Puerto Rico.

Data released Thursday captures the second half of a decade-long expansion in the US economy that followed the Great Recession. The expansion ended in the spring of 2020 when the coronavirus began to spread across the US, forcing businesses to close and workers to be laid off. The data captured only a small part of the initial impact of the pandemic, according to the Census Bureau.

The nation’s poverty rate fell significantly in the last half of the decade, going from 15.5% in the period 2011 to 2015, after the Great Recession, to 12.8% in the period 2016 to 2020. With With the exception of Alaska, where its change was not statistically significant, poverty decreased in 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Along with the increase in family income and the decrease in poverty, the size of houses became larger. The number of owner-occupied homes with at least four bedrooms jumped from 29.7% to 31.3%

People were slightly less mobile in the latter half of the 2010s, with 86.2% staying in the same household in the 2016-2020 period, compared to 85.1% in the 2011 period to 2015. Young adults, who tend to move more than any age group, also slowed their mobility, with 76.4% of people between the ages of 25 and 34 staying where they were compared to 75% between 2011 and 2015. Demographers say that overall mobility in the US has declined in recent years because housing construction hasn’t kept pace with population growth and rising debt people carry makes moving more difficult.

The United States improved its education in the second half of the 2010s, with nearly a third of the population age 25 and older holding a bachelor’s degree or higher between 2016 and 2020, compared to 29.8% between 2011 and 2015.

Income inequality at the start and end of the decade remained roughly the same, although it reached its highest level in the 2010s than in more than five decades on record. It decreased very slightly in Colorado, Maine, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Texas. It increased most significantly in Wyoming.

The American Community Survey provides the most comprehensive data on American life by asking 3.5 million households each year questions about travel times, Internet access, family life, income, education levels, disabilities, military service, and employment. Disruptions caused by the pandemic produced fewer responses in 2020. Due to low response rates, the 1-year version of the survey that captured year-to-year changes did not measure up to Census Bureau standards and was only released experimentally. Format.

For the 5-year version of the American Community Survey released Thursday, the Census Bureau revised its methodology to reduce the impact of nonresponse.


Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeSchneiderAP

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