The US Census Bureau just dropped its annual load of statistics on American poverty and income, and the data shows that 2017 was a good year for many Americans, and not-so-great for others.
On the upside: 2.4 million more people snagged full-time jobs, the median household income ticked up, and poverty rates dropped slightly.
On the downside: Women still earned about 80 cents for every dollar a man earned, incomes grew slower than they did in the previous two years, and that income growth mostly benefited the richest 10 percent of US families.
The bottom 10 percent of US households — earning an average income of $14,219 — saw their incomes fall slightly compared to the previous year, adjusting for inflation. But one of the most striking data points shows the massive economic impact that federal entitlement programs, such as food stamps and housing subsidies, have on low-wage workers.
During President Donald Trump’s first year in office, income from these safety net programs directly kept 44.9 million people out of poverty in 2017. That’s 200,000 more people compared to 2016. So far, Trump and congressional Republicans have been unable to gut spending on the safety net programs they have long despised, facing resistance from Democrats whose votes they needed to pass a budget deal in March.