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September 30, 1999: Progress for Income and Poverty

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"It is clear, our economy is working for the American people and they want it to continue."

President Bill Clinton
Thursday, September 30, 1999

Today, at the White House, President Clinton announced the findings of the Census Bureau's annual reports on income and poverty, which show strong gains in income and substantial reductions in poverty levels The President also discussed his signing of a continuing resolution to keep the government operational, and reiterated his call to Congress to submit a budget that saves Social Security and Medicare, pays down the debt, and invests in education and other programs important to Americans.

Census Report on Income Shows Strong, Broadly Based Gains. According to the Census Bureau's Annual Report on Income in the U.S., 1998 was the fourth straight year of growth in real median household income. The report shows:

  • Since 1993, all groups from the wealthiest to the poorest have seen their incomes rise;
  • Median household income is up 35 percent rising to the highest level ever recorded;
  • Since 1993, the typical family's income is up over $5,000;
  • Income growth is up for all regions of the country in 1998 for the first time on record;
  • Income of the typical Hispanic household has risen almost 16 percent in past three years the largest three-year increase in Hispanic income on record;
  • Under President Clinton, the typical African-American household's income is up 151 percent; and
  • After rising sharply for 20 years, income inequality has stabilized over the past five years

Large Reductions in Poverty. The annual report on poverty by the Census Bureau shows that, as income rose, poverty levels dropped significantly. The report finds:

  • The poverty rate is at its lowest level in two decades Since President Clinton took office, there are now 4.8 million fewer people in poverty;
  • In 1998, the child poverty rate saw its largest one-year drop in more than two decades Under President Clinton, the child poverty rate has had the biggest 5-year drop in nearly 30 years;
  • The poverty rate among the elderly is as low as it's ever been;
  • The Hispanic poverty rate dropped to its lowest level since 1979;
  • The African-American poverty rate is at its lowest level on record;
  • Child poverty among African-Americans is at its lowest level on record;
  • In 1998, President Clinton's expanded Earned Income Tax Credit lifted 43 million people out of poverty double the number of people lifted out of poverty by the EITC in 1993.

Calling on Congress to Build on Our Economic Prosperity. Today, the last day of the current fiscal year, President Clinton signed a continuing resolution which will keep the federal government operational for the next three weeks in the absence of an acceptable budget plan from Congress. Recognizing the significance of the Census Reports' findings, President Clinton urged Congress to build on our economic prosperity and use the next three weeks to submit a budget that the American people deserve one that will pay down the nation's debt, strengthen Social Security and Medicare, and make important investments in key programs like education.

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September 30, 1999: Progress for Income and Poverty