After years of stagnant wages, American families are finally starting to see some improvements. A U.S. Census Bureau report released Tuesday showed that median household income in 2015 jumped 5.2 percent from a year earlier, after adjusting for inflation, according to CNN Money. It's now $56,516.
The data for 2015 marks the first gain in household income since 2007, the year before the Great Recession. The 5.2 percent jump is also the largest on record, which started in 1967 when the Census Bureau began collecting income information. The country never fully recovered from the dramatic income drop during the recession.
But now, all races and ethnicities are seeing increases in income and reductions in poverty, according to the White House. Hispanic Americans saw the largest gains in income with approximately a 6 percent percent increase, while non-Hispanic white Americans saw the next largest gain at 4.4 percent. Hispanic Americans and Black Americans saw the highest reduction in poverty.
It's also worth noting that women saw a substantially larger increase overall in income than men, coming in at 2.7 compared to the men's 1.5, according to The Wall Street Journal. The income increase, coupled with a noteworthy reduction in the poverty rate, shows a turning point in the American economy's post-recession recovery.
Because we are approaching the presidential election, this new data bears significant importance and will no doubt be mentioned by candidates and news outlets in the coming weeks.
For Republican candidate Donald Trump, this isn't exactly great news. He's repeatedly cited the 2014 income numbers to emphasize broader economic and social problems in the country. This new information doesn't support his narrative about the American economy in decline. It particularly doesn't help that the largest increases were experienced by those in the bottom fifth of all earners — the same households he has promised to help by radically shifting away from President Obama's economic policies.
For Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, this will be evidence that Obama's policies have worked. She'll likely also mention additional information found in the Census Bureau report, including that only about 9 percent of Americans are not insured, and the median income is just 2.4 percent below the all-time high in 1999, when husband Bill was in office.
But the post-recession recovery isn't complete. The New York Times reported that the median income is still 1.7 percent lower than it was before the recession.
For now, let's rejoice in the progress we've made and how far we've come since 2008. If this data tells us anything, it's that American families are better off than they were just a few years ago — that's something we can all be happy about.