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September 24, 1998

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The report this morning shows that economic growth continues to raise incomes, lift millions out of poverty, and extend opportunity -- and it shows we must do more. We must use our prosperity, and the confidence it inspires, to help our hardest-pressed families to ensure continued economic growth for all Americans.

President Bill Clinton
September 24, 1998

Today, in a Rose Garden event, President Clinton will speak about the results of the Census Bureau's annual report of income and poverty, which shows that the strength of our economy is lifting family income and lowering poverty rates. The President will also renew his call for Congress to maintain our fiscal discipline, save Social Security first, and continue to invest in our people.

An Economic Plan That Supports Hard-Working Americans. President Clinton's 1993 economic plan made investing in our people, reducing our deficit, and expanding our exports the key priorities to economic success and prosperity. Five years later, our deficit is gone, and our economy continues to grow. Today's Census Report is further evidence that the President's economic plan is working for America, in 1997:

  • The income of the typical American household grew by nearly twice the rate of inflation. Since 1993, the typical family's real income has risen by more than $3,500;
  • The income of African-American Households grew by 4.3 percent. Since 1993, the median income of African-American households has increased over $3,350, a 15 percent increase when adjusted for inflation;
  • The income of Hispanic Households grew by 4.5 percent. Over the past two years, the income of the typical Hispanic household has increased over $2,550, or nearly 11 percent, the largest two-year increase in Hispanic income on record;
  • 4.3 Million people were lifted out of poverty by the Earned Income Tax Credit, including 2.2 million children, 1.1 million African-Americans, and nearly 1.2 million Hispanics;
  • The poverty rate fell to 13.3 percent, the lowest it has been since 1989. Under President Clinton, the poverty rate has declined from 15.1 percent to 13.3 percent, meaning that 3.7 million fewer Americans live in poverty today than in 1993;
  • The African-American poverty rate fell to its lowest level on record, with a four-year drop that is the largest in nearly 30 years;
  • The Hispanic poverty rate dropped 2.7 percent, the largest one-year decline since 1978;
  • The elderly poverty rate dropped to 10.5 percent, as low as it has ever been.

Maintaining Fiscal Discipline, Investing In Our Future. While today's report shows that the President's economic plan has benefitted many groups of Americans, there is more we must do to ensure that opportunity is extended to all -- we must maintain the strict fiscal discipline that has given us the strongest economy in a generation:

  • Saving Social Security First. Fiscal discipline begins with setting aside every penny of any surplus until we save Social Security. The President has proposed targeted tax cuts that are fully paid for, but opposes plans to drain the surplus to pay for new tax cuts;
  • Continuing Investments In Our People. The President has called for critical education investments that will reduce class size, hire 100,000 teachers, modernize and build thousands of schools, and give our children access to powerful education technology. Unfortunately, the Congress has failed to act on these important initiatives. The President is once again calling on Congress to help give our children a world-class education to ensure our economic competitiveness in the 21st Century;
  • Maintaining Leadership In The Global Economy. While we are enjoying economic prosperity at home, our allies and trading partners are suffering abroad. If we are to continue our economic success, we must recognize our responsibility to lead in the global economy. The President is again urging Congress to fully fund our dues to the International Monetary Fund.

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