The downturn that some have dubbed the "Great Recession" has trimmed the typical household's income significantly, new Census data show, following years of stagnant wage growth that made the past decade the worst for American families in at least half a century.
The bureau's annual snapshot of American living standards also found that the fraction of Americans living in poverty rose sharply to 14.3% from 13.2% in 2008--the highest since 1994. Some 43.6 million Americans were living below the official poverty threshold, but the measure doesn't fully capture the panoply of government antipoverty measures.
The inflation-adjusted income of the median household--smack in the middle of the populace--fell 4.8% between 2000 and 2009, even worse than the 1970s, when median income rose 1.9% despite high unemployment and inflation. Between 2007 and 2009, incomes fell 4.2%.