The folks at the Census Bureau have just finished compiling the most recent data on income distribution. I’m betting that the following chart will get a lot of political play:
Yes, median real household income was lower last year than in 2000. And yes, it has in fact grown somewhat in the past few years.
My two cents: The real news (and the really sad news) is the rising poverty rate over the same period:
But I’m betting this will be ignored. With convention season underway, all data entering the public square will be viewed through the lens of electoral politics.
The talking points in the above chart are less crisp for either side (poverty today is higher than in 2000, but lower than in 2004). And more to the point: elections are determined by the median voter, not by the families on the brink of poverty.
There are pages of fascinating reading in the full data release, here.
Mark Thoma rounds up reactions from across the blogosphere, here.