Income is up for the first time in years according to the most recent Census Income Report. But there's more to the picture than just that. Erin Blakemore at Smithsonian.com presents five things you should know about the latest Census Income Report:
1. Income Is Up…For the First Time in Years: In 2015, the median income of an American household was $56,516, or 5.2 percent higher than the same figure for 2014. It's the first increase in nearly a generation.
2. How Much You Make Depends On Where You Live—And Who You Are: While the West saw a 6.4 percent increase in real median household income, that figure rose by only 2.9 percent in the South and 5.1 percent in the Midwest. The Northeast, where incomes rose 4.9 percent over one year, is still the area with the highest median household incomes—$62,182.
3. Poverty is Down: A total of 43.1 million, or 13.5 percent of Americans, lived in poverty—defined as a total income of $24,257 for a family of four in 2015, compared with 39.5 million people or 22.4 percent of Americans in 1959. The total number of families in poverty was 10.4 percent of all Americans, down from 11.6 percent in 2014.
4. ...But Those Numbers are Contested: The census report does include a section on its supplemental poverty measure, which takes government programs into account. However, that number is higher than the official poverty rate—14.3 percent of Americans compared with 13.5 percent using the other calculation.