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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 21, 2018

Iowa incomes rose last year

Sep 18, 2017

By Ed Tibbetts, Quad-City Times


Iowa’s household incomes grew by a small amount last year, though not by as much as the nation as a whole, according to new government estimates.

Illinois also saw growth.

Iowa’s median household income last year was $56,247, up about 1.9 percent after adjusting for inflation from the year before.

The increase topped the previous year’s growth, which was about 1.3 percent higher than the year before.

“We didn’t grow as much as the nation did, but it’s still good growth,” said Dave Swenson, an associate scientist of economics at Iowa State University.

The new data, released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau, appear to show that Iowa is sharing in some of the economic recovery that has pushed household incomes higher across the country.

Nationwide, median household income was $59,039 last year, up 3.2 percent, according to government figures released Tuesday.

The new data say that incomes were up over the rate of inflation in 30 states.

Idaho had one of the largest increases, at 6.3 percent, according to the Census Bureau, while Pennsylvania, at 1.2 percent, ranked near the bottom in growth.

Iowa’s rise in incomes is likely mostly attributable to wage growth, not just additional employment in the state’s households, Swenson said.

He said other data show that incomes in the state have been beating inflation. “I’m going to argue most of that is in wage gain,” he said of Thursday’s report.

In Illinois, median household income stood at $60,960 last year, up about 1.4 percent from the year before.

Overall, Iowa’s median household income ranked it 27th in the U.S., while Illinois was in 17th place.

In addition to income data, the government also released figures for the number of people living below the poverty line.

In Iowa, the poverty rate declined from 12.2 percent in 2015 to 11.8 percent last year, while in Illinois it went from 13.6 percent to 13 percent. In Illinois, an estimated 1.6 million were living below the poverty line last year, while in Iowa it was about 356,000.

About a half million children were living below the poverty line in Illinois, while about 100,000 children in Iowa were living in poverty, according to the new estimates.

The nation’s official poverty rate was 12.7 percent last year, with 40.6 million people living below the poverty line, about 2.5 million fewer than the year before.

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