New Census data released this week shows us some good news and bad news.
First, let’s celebrate the good news. The overall US poverty rate fell 0.8 percentage points from 2015 to 12.7 percent in 2016, while the median household income increased from $57,200 in 2015 to $59,000 in 2016. This continues the trend of improvements in overall poverty rates and median household income under the Obama administration. 2016 was also the first year the US poverty rate returned to pre-recession poverty levels.
While the overall data is encouraging, the data shows that households headed by women, particularly those headed by Black and Latina women, are still being left behind in the economic recovery since the Great Recession. More than one in three female-headed families lived in poverty in 2016, compared to 17.3 percent of male-headed households and 6.6 percent of married-couple families. Poverty rates were higher for Black women who head families (38.8 percent) and Latinas who head families (38.8 percent). In addition, we have seen Black women and Latinas consistently experience higher unemployment than white men.
While the 2016 data gives us much to celebrate, more needs to be done to ensure the economy works for all of us.