WASHINGTON - In the United States, family incomes are up, the poverty rate is down, and the number of people covered by health insurance has improved.
Experts at the Census Bureau published the data Tuesday, and it shows the median household income rose 3.2 percent between 2015 and 2016, hitting $59,039. That is the second gain in two years. The "median" means half the population earns more, half earns less.
The poverty rate declined to 12.7 percent, meaning two and a half million fewer people below the official poverty rate. While that is an improvement, it still leaves 40.6 million Americans in poverty.
Government experts define poverty as an income under $24,563 for a family of four.
The gap between the earnings of women and men narrowed slightly in 2016, with women now earning just more than 80 cents for every dollar men earn.
Among the many ethnic groups in the United States, Asians have the highest median family incomes, little changed from prior years ($81,431). Incomes rose a bit for non-Hispanic white ($65,041), Hispanic ($47,675), and black families ($39,490), but were lower than their Asian neighbors.
The percentage of Americans without health insurance fell three tenths of a percent to 8.8 percent. The slight improvement still leaves 28.1 million people without coverage.