Unexpectedly Intriguing!
August 31, 2017

For July 2017, our estimate of nominal U.S. median household income ticked upward to $58,340 from our previous estimate of $58,258 for June 2017. The following chart picks up on the format that Doug Short pioneered using the median household income estimates originated by Sentier Research, who terminated their coverage after reporting the data for May 2017.

Median Household Income in the 21st Century: Nominal and Real Estimates, January 2000 to July 2017

In terms of current U.S. dollars, the median household income in the U.S. has been slowly rising since January 2017. However, after adjusting the nominal income data to be in terms of inflation-adjusted, constant July 2017 U.S. dollars, we can see that the trend since January 2017 has been flat after having trended slowly downward from its most recent "real" peak at the beginning of 2016. Our estimates of median household income since January 2000 indicate that this measure of the well-being of the typical American household has not recovered to the peak levels recorded in either late 2000 with the peak of the Dot-Com Bubble or the peak that was reached during the Great Recession that coincided with the failures in the U.S. automotive and financial industries in the last quarter of 2008.

The methodology for the approach we've developed to generate these replacement estimates is described here. In generating the July 2017 update for the Median Household Income in the 21st Century chart above, we've used the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) to adjust the nominal median household income estimates for inflation.

Notes

The BEA revised its aggregate wage and salary personal income data for the period from January 2017 through June 2017. For June 2017's revised data, our methodology produces an estimate for median household income of $58,266, which is just $8 higher than our previous estimate for that month.

Data Sources

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Table 2.6. Personal Income and Its Disposition, Monthly, Personal Income and Outlays, Not Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly, Middle of Month. Population. [Online Database (via Federal Reserve Economic Data)]. Last Updated: 31 August 2017. Accessed: 31 August 2017.

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Table 2.6. Personal Income and Its Disposition, Monthly, Personal Income and Outlays, Not Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly, Middle of Month. Compensation of Employees, Received: Wage and Salary Disbursements. [Online Database (via Federal Reserve Economic Data)]. Last Updated: 31 August 2017. Accessed: 31 August 2017.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers: All Items, Monthly, Not Seasonally Adjusted. [Online Database (via Federal Reserve Economic Data)]. Last Updated: 11 August 2017. Accessed: 31 August 2017.

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