3 big reasons to slap a smile on your face after seeing the new Census report.
It's here, kids! It's here! The Census Bureau's report on Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2015 is FINALLY HERE!
We've spent so many days beside our empty Census boxes, eagerly awaiting the Census man in his apron, black tie, and cap to drop it off with a warm smile and friendly wave.
Oh how excited we all were when we woke up this morning to the smell of warm ozone and printer ink, then scampered downstairs in our footy-pajamas to find a fresh-hot Census report awaiting us. What a day. What a glorious day!
The most recent Census report is brimming with good news.
News that honestly and truly means life is getting better for Americans just like you! That's right, you! Reading this right now on your phone. In your plaid shirt.
So go ahead and curl up with the full 70-page report and get ready to spend a couple of hours reading footnotes on how life is about to be several percentage points better for you and your loved ones.
(Just kidding, I did it for you.)
1. Average household income has increased 5.2% in the past year.
That's great news by itself, but the better news is that it's actually the first annual increase in household income since 2007 — the year before the housing market imploded and the U.S. economy sank faster than a cannonball tied to a piano.
As always, race is a significant factor in income and economic growth, so there are disparities there. According to the report, Hispanic households saw a median increase of 6.1% and black households saw an increase of 4.1%. But! Households in every region of the United States saw an income increase. Which is pretty cool.
2. The poverty rate has decreased 1.2%.
It might not seem like a lot, and of course any place that calls itself "the land of opportunity" should be doing a better job of combatting poverty, but 1.2% is far from nothing.
In 2014, the estimated number of families living in poverty was 9.5 million. This latest report estimates the number at 8.6 million. So nearly a million families in America are no longer living in poverty.
3. The number of people without health insurance has fallen.
In the period covered by the report, the number of uninsured people in the U.S. fell from 33 million to 29 million. So that's — hang on, give me a second — 4? Yeah. 4 million people who now have health insurance.
Even better? For the second year in a row, that increase in health insurance is true for every age group under 65.
Things are looking up. But of course, there's still work to do.
On a family-to-family, human-to-human level, we're better off than we were last year — and much better off than eight years ago, when people were losing jobs by the millions and no one knew if the economy would totally collapse.
We got better. And we can get even better.
According to the report, income inequality has remained statistically unchanged. It's been an important issue in the 2016 election and has been on the minds of millions of Americans since 2008, when the market crashed.
Racial disparities also continue to plague this country and make it measurably harder for some families to do as well as others. Not to mention the fact that despite the shrinking number, millions of Americans still don't have health insurance.
We've pulled ourselves out of a deep rut over the past several years, but we need to keep climbing, working toward things that have been proven to help the economy like immigration, infrastructure investment, and education, to name a few.
Americans face hardships every day, but we come out stronger and more ready for the next challenge. So next year, when the new Census Report on Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage comes out, I hope you all get as excited as I just did. If we work together to build a stronger, fairer, better America, the news next year will be even better.