On Tuesday, the Census Bureau released a new report on income, poverty, and health insurance.
First off, it's clear that Americans are getting wealthier. Between 2015 and 2016, real median incomes grew by 2.7 percent for family households to $75,062 and 4.5 percent for non-family households to $35,761. It's worth noting that the household figure is more than double that of nonfamily households. Another sign it's time to get married?
That said, American earnings continue to show great disparities across different racial groups. Asian households came top at $81,431, White households were next at $65,041, Hispanics stood at $47,675, and while they experienced the highest growth rate of 5.7 percent over the year, Black households came last at $39,400.
That the average Asian household earns more than twice what the average Black household takes home proves the importance of educational aspiration and strong family units, and the tragedy of cultures of poverty.
The poverty data similarly reflects these racial income divergences, but with some cause for optimism. Between 2015 and 2016, the Black poverty rate declined from 24.1 to 22 percent, and Hispanics saw a reduction from 21.4 to 19.4 percent. The white poverty rate was stable at 8.8 percent, and the Census Bureau didn't even record the Asian poverty rate: presumably because it is too small a group within too small a sample size. Regardless, if poverty is trending down, that's good news.
How about that favored left-wing war cry of income inequality? The data suggests it is an exaggerated concern: "The change from 2015 was not statistically significant."
The health insurance situation is a little more complicated.
Aside from the fact that they paid far too much for the privilege, 91.2 percent of Americans had health insurance at some point in 2016. But there's a catch: 37.3 percent of those with health insurance now receive it from the government. We're well on the way to a government option, folks!
The Medicare fiscal bomb has also exploded: Enrollees as a percentage of total health care recipients grew by 0.4 percent over the year. That might seem like a small figure, but in the context of the national population it's the opposite. This fiscal situation is not sustainable: We must listen to folks offering solutions to reform our entitlement state.
As I say, the data is a mixed bag. Yes, middle class Americans are becoming wealthier, poverty is declining, and healthcare coverage is expanding. Still, striking divergences exist between various racial groups, and too many negative caveats, such as Medicare expansion, continue to linger below the surface.