Just How Stagnant Are Wages, Anyway?

There’s no doubt that the fortunes of many American families were hammered during the recession and its aftermath, from 2007 onward. And looking back a bit further, the Census Bureau’s main measure of inflation-adjusted median household income peaked in 1999 and 2000, fell in the 2001 recession, and never quite made it back to the old peak before falling again.

But it’s not unusual to see claims that American incomes have gone nowhere for decades and decades, or that the middle class has seen no improvement in its standard of livingsince the 1970s.

A new piece of research from Stephen Rose, an affiliated scholar with the Urban Institute and a professor at George Washington University, has the modest premise that rumors of the demise of American well-being have been greatly exaggerated.

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