An Oakland nonprofit group founded by Y Combinator’s Sam Altman is raising funds to launch what could become the nation’s largest basic-income research project.
In a detailed proposal unveiled late Wednesday, Y Combinator Research said it wants to give 1,000 low- and moderate-income people $1,000 a month with no strings attached for three to five years and compare them to a control group of 2,000 people who get $50 a month.
The middle class is back — or so it seems.
That’s the message from the Census Bureau’s latest report on “Income and Poverty in the United States.” The news is mostly good. The income of the median household (the one exactly in the middle) rose to a record $59,039; the two-year increase was a strong 8.5 percent. Meanwhile, 2.5 million fewer Americans were living beneath the government’s poverty line ($24,563 for a family of four). The poverty rate fell from 13.5 percent of the population in 2015 to 12.7 percent in 2016.. . . Not all the evidence is upbeat. Here are three sobering takeaways.
First, men’s median wages for full-time, year-round work have stagnated.
. . . Second, the upper middle class is flourishing — but not the lower classes.
. . . Third, almost three-quarters of the rise of Americans living in poverty since 1990 reflects increases in Hispanic poverty — increases linked to immigration, whether legal or illegal.
The technology hub of San Francisco surpassed the nation’s capital last year as the highest-earning large U.S. metropolitan area. Median household income in the San Francisco metro area in 2016 was $96,667, just ahead of the $95,843 figure for the Washington region, the Census Bureau announced Thursday. That put the California hotspot in first place among the 25 most populous metro areas, with the capital falling to the No. 2 slot. The median income for the San Francisco area, including nearby cities such as Oakland and Berkeley, has surged in recent years amid a tech-sector boom and jumped 9.2% in 2016. Incomes in the Washington area, including parts of Maryland and northern Virginia, rose a more modest 2.7% from 2015.
Median household income in America was $59,039 last year, surpassing the previous high of $58,655 set in 1999, the Census Bureau said. The figure is adjusted for inflation and is one of the most closely watched indicators of how the middle class is faring financially, as the Census surveys nearly 100,000 homes. The Census said the uptick in earnings occurred because so many people found full-time jobs — or better-paying jobs — last year. America's poverty rate also fell to 12.7 percent, the lowest since 2007, the year before the financial crisis hit. The percent of Americans without health insurance for the entire year also dropped in 2016 to just 8.8 percent, largely thanks to expanding coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
New figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show California has the country's highest poverty rate, with nearly one in five residents facing economic hardship when factoring in living costs such as housing.