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.