U.S. Bureau of the Census

09/14/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/14/2021 13:06

Press Release | September 14, 2021 Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the U.S.: 2020 Median household income in 2020 decreased 2.9% between 2019 and 2020, and the[...]

SEPT. 14, 2021 - The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that median household income in 2020 decreased 2.9% between 2019 and 2020, and the official poverty rate increased 1.0 percentage point. Meanwhile the percentage of people with health insurance coverage for all or part of 2020 was 91.4%. An estimated 8.6% of people, or 28.0 million, did not have health insurance at any point during 2020, according to the 2021 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC).

Median household income was $67,521 in 2020, a decrease of 2.9% from the 2019 median of $69,560. This is the first statistically significant decline in median household income since 2011.

Between 2019 and 2020, the real median earnings of all workers decreased by 1.2%, while the real median earnings of full-time, year-round workers increased 6.9%. The total number of people with earnings decreased by about 3.0 million, while the number of full-time, year-round workers decreased by approximately 13.7 million.

The official poverty rate in 2020 was 11.4%, up 1.0 percentage point from 2019. This is the first increase in poverty after five consecutive annual declines. In 2020, there were 37.2 million people in poverty, approximately 3.3 million more than in 2019.

Private health insurance coverage continued to be more prevalent than public coverage, at 66.5% and 34.8%, respectively. Some people may have more than one coverage type during the calendar year. Of the subtypes of health insurance, employment-based insurance was the most common subtype of health insurance, covering 54.4% of the population for some or all of the calendar year.

These findings are contained in two Census Bureau reports: Income and Poverty in the United States: 2020 and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2020. For consistency with past reports, the income and poverty estimates in the Income and Poverty in the United States: 2020 report are based on the concept of money income, which is pretax and does not include stimulus payments and tax credits. An appendix to the income and poverty report provides post-tax estimates of median household income and income inequality metrics that do reflect the stimulus payments.

Another Census Bureau report, The Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2020, was also released today. The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) rate in 2020 was 9.1%. This was 2.6 percentage points lower than the 2019 SPM rate. The SPM estimates reflect post-tax income that include stimulus payments. The SPM provides an alternative way of measuring poverty in the United States and serves as an additional indicator of economic well-being. The Census Bureau has published poverty estimates using the SPM annually since 2011 in collaboration with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

All three reports are based on data from the CPS ASEC. The Current Population Survey (CPS), sponsored jointly by the Census Bureau and BLS, is conducted every month and is the primary source of labor force statistics for the U.S. population. It is used to calculate monthly unemployment rate estimates. Supplements are added in most months. The CPS ASEC - conducted in February, March and April - is designed to give annual, national estimates of income, poverty and health insurance numbers and rates. It collects information about income and health insurance coverage during the prior calendar year.