In­comes up, but growth is un­even

Day­ton’s me­dian house­hold in­come dips amid U.S., county gains.

Dayton Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - By Katie Wedell Staff Writer

Me­dian house­hold in­come in the United States was up for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year in 2016, but pock­ets of the Mi­ami Val­ley re­gion lag be­hind, ac­cord­ing to new numbers re­leased by the U.S. Cen­sus this week

Me­dian house­hold in­come in the U.S. in 2016 was $59,039, an in­crease in real terms of 3.2

per­cent from the 2015 me­dian in­come. It’s the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive an­nual in­crease in me­dian house­hold in­come. Ex­perts said the re­port shows Amer­i­can house­holds have made sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic progress in 2015 and 2016 and are fi­nally see­ing real progress in re­cov­er­ing from the Great Re­ces­sion.

Lo­cally, gains were more mod­est and me­dian house­hold in­come de­creased in War­ren and Clark coun­ties and the city of Day­ton ac­cord­ing to the Amer­i­can Com­mu­nity Sur­vey numbers. But most lo­cal shifts were within the mar­gin of er­ror of the es­ti­mates.

Day­ton’s me­dian house­hold in­come dropped to $28,894 from $30,135 in 2015. The 2016 fig­ure ranks Day­ton fifth out of the state’s six largest cities for me­dian house­hold in­come, ahead of only Cleve­land.

It’s still an im­prove­ment from 2011 when Day­ton’s me­dian house­hold in­come dipped to $25,434.

But­ler and Mi­ami coun­ties saw in­come gains lo­cally, climb­ing to me­dian house­hold in­comes of $63,273 and $60,170 re­spec­tively.

The cen­sus data shows poverty rates fell in the

North­east and South of the U.S. in 2016 but were mostly un­changed in the Mid­west and West.

Ac­cord­ing to the es­ti­mates, 18.4 per­cent of Mont­gomery County — nearly 95,000 peo­ple — live be­low the of­fi­cial poverty line.

A fam­ily of four with an in­come be­low $24,563 was de­fined as poor last year.

T he na t io n al poverty rate in 2016 was back to a pre-re­ces­sion level for the first time; an es­ti­mated 12.7 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion — 40.6 mil­lion peo­ple — are liv­ing in poverty. That’s 2.5 mil­lion fewer than in 2015. In­come

“This has been two con­sec- utive years of strong in­come growth,” said Trudi Ren­wick, an as­sis­tant divi­sion chief with the U.S. Cen­sus Bureau. The in­crease is at­trib­uted not so much to peo­ple’s pay ris­ing but to more peo­ple be­com­ing part of the full- time work­force, she said.

“We saw a jump in the num­ber of peo­ple work­ing

and the num­ber of peo­ple work­ing full-time,” Ren­wick said.

Me­dian house­hold in­come is gen­er­ally re­garded as a good barom­e­ter of eco­nomic growth among Amer­i­cans. It’s the di­vid­ing line where half of a pop­u­la­tion makes more and half makes less. The fe­male-to-male earn-

ings gap nar­rowed for the first time since be­fore the re­ces­sion. In 2016, fe­males earned 80.5 per­cent of what

males did. In­comes rose for most de­mo­graphic groups as well. African-Amer­i­can me­dian house­hold in­come jumped 5.7 per­cent to $39,490 in 2016 from the pre­vi­ous year, the

most of any group. Among His­pan­ics, it rose to 4.3 per­cent to $47,675. For whites, the gain was 2 per­cent to $65,041.

“We see that there’s still big gaps in racial groups,” said Han­nah Hal­bert, work- force re­searcher for left-lean- ing Pol­icy Mat­ters Ohio. Black

and His­panic Amer­i­cans earn­ing less than whites and

all earn­ing less than Asians with the high­est house­hold in­comes at $81,431.

And while over­all in­come growth has been strong, Hal­bert said, it’s been un­even.

“The bottom 20 per­cent of earn­ers, their in­come is down 2.7 per­cent since 2007,” she said. The re­port shows the top 20 per­cent of earn­ers have seen an 8.7 per­cent in­crease over the same time pe­riod.

Pop­u­la­tion

The cen­sus es­ti­mates found that War­ren County is the only Mi­ami Val­ley area that saw real change in pop- ula­tion from the 2015 Amer­i­can Com­mu­nity Sur­vey esti- mates to 2016 with a 1.2 per- cent in­crease in pop­u­la­tion to 227,063 peo­ple.

Clark and Mont­gomery coun­ties shrunk by less than 1 per­cent while But­ler, Greene,

and Mi­ami coun­ties grew by less than 1 per­cent.

The city of Day­ton’s pop­u­la­tion also re­mained flat be­tween the two es­ti­mates at about 140,500 peo­ple. Health in­sur­ance

The per­cent­age of peo­ple na­tion­wide with health in­sur

ance cov­er­age for all or part of 2016 was 91.2 per­cent, the re­ports found.

Pri­vate health in­sur­ance con­tin­ues to be most preva- lent with 67.5 per­cent of the

pop­u­la­tion in­sured through their em­ployer or di­rect-pur­chase in­sur­ance.

Medi­care was the only type of health in­sur­ance that saw sta­tis­ti­cally sig­nif­i­cant gains be­tween 2015 and 2016, likely due to an in­crease in the num­ber of peo­ple age 65 or older.

Ohio’s unin­sured rate was 5.6 per­cent in 2016, down from 6.5 per­cent the year be­fore and 11 per­cent be­fore Med­i­caid ex­pan­sion.

Lo­cal unin­sured rates in 2016 ranged from 3.4 per­cent in War­ren County to 6.1 per­cent in Mont­gomery County.

“It is that Med­i­caid ex­pan­sion that has re­ally de­creased

the unin­sured rate,” said Melissa Thomas­son, a pro­fes­sor of eco­nom­ics at Mi­ami Univer­sity. Those gains are in jeop­ardy if var­i­ous plans to get rid of the ACA come to pass, she said.

“To the ex­tent that some of th­ese pro­pos­als to re­peal and not fully re­place the ACA take away money that’s given to states to do (Med­i­caid ex­pan­sion), I think we would be back to where we were,” Thomas­son said.

LISA POW­ELL / STAFF

Vol­un­teers and em­ploy­ees work at The Food­bank Inc. pre­par­ing food for dis­tri­bu­tion. De­spite na­tional progress re­duc­ing the num­ber of fam­i­lies liv­ing in poverty, the Day­ton re­gion has seen more fam­i­lies ex­pe­ri­enc­ing food in­se­cu­rity.

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