Statement | Inequality and Poverty

News from EPI Income growth slows significantly again in 2018

**EPI will be hosting a press call today at 12:30 p.m. Eastern to discuss the new Census data**

This morning, the Census Bureau released its report on income, poverty, and health insurance for 2018.

“Household income growth significantly slowed again in 2018, following a marked deceleration in 2017. While any reduction in poverty or increase in income is a step in the right direction, most families have just barely made up the ground lost over the past decade,” said EPI Senior Economist Elise Gould. “After correcting for a discontinuity in the income data to make years before and after 2013 comparable, median household income remains just below where it was back in 2000.”

Median household incomes rose only 0.9% in 2018, compared with 1.8% in 2017. In 2016 and 2015, median household incomes grew much faster, at 3.1% and 5.1%, respectively. The poverty rate, meanwhile, dropped 0.5 percentage points to 11.8% in 2018.

“Increased employment among African Americans in 2018 helped to reverse the loss of income among these households in 2017,” said EPI Economist and Director of the Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy Valerie Wilson. “In 2015 and 2016, income growth was stronger for black and Hispanic households than for white households, but after a disappointing 0.8% decline in black median household income in 2017, income grew 1.8% for black households in 2018. Today’s release also shows that while in 2017, growth in Hispanic median household income continued to outpace that of white non-Hispanics, income growth stalled for Hispanic households in 2018. These trends resulted in a widening of the Hispanic–white income gap, while the black–white income gap was essentially unchanged.”