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You Might Earn Less Today Than In 2007

Poll QuestionA new study has found that, although household income is rising, it remains below pre-recession levels.

That’s right, the average family earns less today than it did six years ago.

According to Annapolis, Md.-based Sentier Research, median household income levels adjusted for inflation dropped from $55,480 in December 2007 to $54,478 in June 2009. We reached rock bottom in August 2011, at $50,722.

But this month, household income bounced back – slightly – to $52,098.

That’s 6.1% less than the 2007 level.

Chart showing the difference in median income by race 2009-2013The younger set fared worst: Households with members under age 26 saw a decrease of 9.6% during that time period, from $34,690 to $31,343.

Households with members between 55 and 64 years old were also bigger losers. They saw a decline of 7%, from $62,842 to $58,432.

The only significant increase was for households with members 64 to 74 years old. That demographic saw an increase of 5.1%, with its median increasing from $40,885 to $42,984.

Researcher Gordon Green says median income measures the net effect of economic activity on the middle class, specifically how well they’re able to afford food, housing and other monthly necessities.

“Based on our data, almost every group is worse off now than it was four years ago,” he says. “For some groups of householders – blacks, men living alone, young and upper-middle age brackets, part-time workers, the unemployed, females with children present, and those with only a high school degree or some college but no degree – the declines have tended to be larger than average.”

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