by Chriss W. Street 22 Aug 2014
Economic recoveries are historically known for big gains in “real” (after inflation) household income. But for most American households there has been no economic recovery during the Obama Administration because of chronic falling wages, according to data from the dshort.com website. For the first time in American history during a supposed economic expansion, real after tax income fell by -5.9%.
Following the supposed recovery beginning in June 2009, real household income for African-American households was worse at -7.7% than the national average. But holders of college two-year Associates Degree have been crushed with real household income down -9.8%. The only households to experience an increase in real income during the period were those 65 and older, who saw an average gain of +5.8%.
From the beginning of 2000 to the bottom of the recession in May of 2009, real household income fell by only -2%. But in the “supposed expansion,” real household income decayed by another -7.6%, before bottoming in August 2012 at down -9.6%. In the last two years, real household income has grudgingly recovered but is still down -5.9%.
Married couples' households have historically been the key to real economic advancement for Americans. All family types suffered real income losses, but married couples' households real income was only down -1% at $80,031.
But since June 2009, the number of married couple households only grew by +34,692 to 59,256,366. In June 2009, married couples had constituted 50.0% of “All Households;” but five years later that percentage had withered to 47.8%.
The lack of marriages showed up in big jumps in other types of households. Female householders with children grew by +229,541 to 10,050,720, a +7.2% gain. Women living alone grew by +1,266,993 to 18,866,390, a +2.3% increase. Men living alone surged by +1,554,795 to 15,692,772, a +11% gain.
These non-married households suffered the worst real income losses. Single women living alone saw income fall by -4.6% to $23,198. Female householders with children present saw their incomes fall -5.5% at $30,339. But men living alone were hit the hardest, with their real incomes falling by -7.1%.
It is common folklore that the key to moving up economically is educational attainment, but it is highly questionable since the recovery started in June 2009. Those without a high school degree did see a -7.4% real income drop compared to a -5.5% decline for individuals with a four-year Bachelors’ or higher degree. But those who went to college but did not get at least a Bachelor’s degree did worst of all. Individuals with some college had an -8.1% real income decline, and those with a two-year Associates degree had a -9.8% plunge.
My experience is that most peoples’ eyes glass over when there are a lot of numbers in a report. But they are very interested when it involves their personal money. From this analysis, Americans have lost real income gains during an economic recovery for the first time in American history. The worst impacted during the Obama Administration have been his key constituencies of those who are single, with some college education, and African-Americans.