Syracuse's alarming poverty rate keeps rising in 2016

American families finally earn more than they did in 1999

The nation's poverty rate fell to 12.7 percent, returning almost to what it was in 2007 before a financial crisis and deep recession walloped workers in ways that were still felt years later.

The overall number of people without health insurance fell to 28.1 million, or about 8.8 percent of the USA population.

About 20 percent of Californians lived below the Census' "supplemental" poverty measure from 2014 to 2016, according to data released by the Bureau on Tuesday.

The poverty rate has returned to pre-recession levels.

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Elise Gould, a senior economist at the liberal-leaning Economic Policy Institute, noted on a conference call with reporters Tuesday that the sagging incomes of working men in 2016 came after moderate gains the previous year.

In all but the largest states, the margin of error around the income numbers is in the $1,000 to $3,000 range.

And by race, Asian households had the highest median income, but black households had the largest percentage gain. Now, that said, adjusted for inflation, middle American households are still at about the same income level as they were in 2007 just before the Great Recession.

The median income figure is higher than the pre-recession peak of $58,149 in 2007; however, experts cautioned that the years can not be accurately compared because the census changed the questions they ask on the annual survey in 2014.

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That means that Americans are earning more on average than they have since the turn of the millennium.

The lower incomes have stood out for years in Syracuse, where a 2015 study by a Rutgers University professor found the city has the nation's highest rate of extreme poverty concentrated among blacks and Hispanics. How the Census Bureau defines poverty depends on household. New Jersey's median income ranked third in the nation, behind Maryland and Alaska. Real median income for foreign-born households was $55,559 in 2016, lower than the median income of $59,781 for native-born households. Still, median earnings for full-time workers in Clark County increased slightly from $49,699 in 2015 to $50,130 a year ago, the Census Bureau said. "That's where households get the wherewithal to improve their lifestyle and have increased buying power", McBride says. So not only did full-time jobs account for the entire net increase in employment in 2016, but part-time workers began to upgrade to full-time hours.

While the state's overall share of children in poverty also slightly dropped, child poverty rates ticked up in 11 of the state's 25 metro areas, and rates in 10 metro areas surpassed the state average. The coefficient in 2016 measured 0.4813, compared with 0.4832 in 2015. For another, the slightest tweak to the policies that affect middle class finances could tip millions of Americans out of their comfortable income tax bracket into the vast gulf on the other side. Nearly a quarter of residents fall into this category, and while that's fewer than in 2015, there are 300,000 more people living at that income level than in 2007.

According to the bureau, individuals ages 65 and older had the unique distinction of being the only population segment to experience a significant increase in the number of people in poverty.

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Poverty rates dropped in 24 states across the country, including MI. The 2016 figure is not statistically different than the 2007 rate, the bureau said.

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