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PRESIDENT CLINTON & VICE-PRESIDENT GORE: RECORD GAINS FOR WORKING FAMILIES ACROSS AMERICA
September 26, 2000
TODAY, THE CENSUS BUREAU RELEASED ITS REPORT ON INCOME AND POVERTY IN AMERICA FOR 1999.
The annual report shows an unprecedented fifth year of significant income growth – with median household income breaking $40,000 for the first time in history – and shows that the poverty rate last year dipped to its lowest level in two decades.
Strong Broad-Based Income Gains:
- Household Income Breaks $40,000 for First Time in History. Income for median households rose $1,072, or 2.7 percent, from $39,744 in 1998 to $40,816, marking an unprecedented fifth year of significant growth in income. In 1999, the median income of African American households increased from $25,911 in 1998 to $27,910 -- an increase of $1,999, or 7.7 percent, which is the largest one-year increase ever recorded. The income of the median Hispanic household, adjusted for inflation, increased from $28,956 in 1998 to $30,735 in 1999 -- an increase of $1,779, or 6.1 percent, which is the largest one-year increase ever recorded.
- Family Income Up Over $6,300 Since 1993. Another measure of income -- family income, which excludes single individuals and counts only related members in any household -- shows similar trends. In 1999, the median family income, adjusted for inflation, increased to $48,950 from $47,769, or 2.5 percent. Since President Clinton and Vice President Gore passed their Economic Plan in 1993, median family income has increased from $42,612 in 1993 to $48,950 in 1999 - an increase of $6,338, or 15 percent. From 1987 to 1992, median family income fell $1,991 after adjusting for inflation. Since 1993, African American family income increased by $6,941, which is a 27.9 percent increase.
- All Groups Have Seen Their Incomes Rise – From Richest to Poorest. For the third year in a row, all five quintiles of the income distribution saw their incomes, adjusted for inflation, rise. The average income for the lowest 20 percent increased by 5.4 percent compared to an increase of 3.9 percent for the highest 20 percent. Since 1993, all five quintiles have seen their incomes rise strongly, after 12 years in which there was little if any improvement for the bottom 60 percent of Americans. Since 1993, the lowest income quintile recorded a 16.3 percent income increase, which is the largest increase gain of all the quintiles.
Strong Reduction in Poverty:
- Poverty Rate Fell to 11.8 Percent in 1999 -- Its Lowest Level Since 1979. In 1999, the poverty rate dropped from 12.7 percent to 11.8 percent, the lowest rate in two decades. Since President Clinton and Vice President Gore passed their Economic Plan in 1993, the poverty rate has declined from 15.1 percent in 1993 to 11.8 percent last year – the largest six-year drop in poverty in nearly 30 years (1964-1970). There are now 7 million fewer people in poverty than in 1993, and over 2.2 million, or over 30 percent, of this decline occurred during the past year. (In 1999, the poverty threshold was $17,029 for a family of four.)
- 1999 Represents the Largest One-Year Drop in Child Poverty in More than Three Decades. While the child poverty rate remains too high, in 1999, it declined from 18.9 percent to 16.9 percent, which is the lowest since 1979. The full 2 percentage point decline is the largest one-year decline since 1966. Under President Clinton, the child poverty rate has declined from 22.7 percent to 16.9 percent, a reduction of 25.6 percent, which is the biggest six-year drop in nearly 30 years (1964-1970).
- Elderly Poverty Rate Fell Below 10 percent for the First Time. In 1999, the elderly poverty rate of 9.7 percent fell below the 10 percent mark for the first time in recorded history. In 1959, the elderly poverty rate was 35.2 percent.
- The African American Poverty Rate Down To Its Lowest Level on Record. While the African-American poverty rate is still far above the poverty rate for whites, it declined from 26.1 percent in 1998 to 23.6 percent in 1999, which is the lowest level recorded since data were first collected in 1959. Since 1993, the African-American poverty rate dropped from 33.1 percent to 23.6 percent, a 29 percent decline, which is the largest six-year drop in African American poverty in more than 30 years.
- Child Poverty Among African Americans Down To Lowest Level on Record. While the African-American child poverty rate is too high, it fell from 36.7 percent to 33.1 percent in 1998, which is the largest one-year drop in history and its lowest level on record (data collected since 1959). Since 1993, the child poverty rate among African Americans has fallen every single year for six straight years (1993- 99), a historical record. Poverty among African American children has declined 13 percentage points, or 28.2 percent, under President Clinton.
- The Hispanic Poverty Rate Dropped to its Lowest Level Since 1979. In 1999, the Hispanic poverty rate dropped from 25.6 percent to 22.8 percent - that's the lowest level since 1979. Poverty for Hispanics declined by 2.8 percentage points, or 10.9 percent, from 1998, which is the largest one-year percentage point decline ever recorded. While there is still more work to do, since President Clinton took office, Hispanic poverty has declined from 30.6 percent to 22.8 percent, or 25.5 percent, from 1993. The Hispanic child poverty rate fell from 34.4 percent to 30.3 percent, or 12 percent, from 1998. Poverty for Hispanic children has declined 10.6 percentage points, or 26 percent, since 1993.
- The Asian and Pacific Islander Americans Poverty Rate As Low As It's Ever Been. In 1999, the Asian Pacific Islander poverty rate dropped from 12.5 percent to 10.7 percent—as low as it's ever been. Since 1993, the Asian Pacific Islander Americans poverty rate has dropped from 15.3 to 10.7, or 30.1 percent, which is the largest percentage decline of all groups.
- 4.1 Million People Lifted Out of Poverty by the EITC. In 1993, President Clinton expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit, providing a tax cut for low-income working families. In 1999, the EITC lifted 4.1 million people out of poverty, which is nearly double the number of people lifted out of poverty by the EITC in 1993. Among children, the EITC reduced poverty by 17 percent in 1999, which represents moving 2.3 million children out of poverty.
- Central Cities Show Large Improvement. The poverty rate in central cities fell from 18.5 percent in 1998 to 16.4 percent in 1999, which is the largest percentage point decline ever recorded and the lowest level since 1979. Since 1993, poverty in central cities has fallen by 23.7 percent.
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