According to data in the US Census released today, most Americans are not better off financially after Barack Obama’s first term as President of the United States. Whether this will translate at the polls in November remains to be seen.
The median household income for families dropped 1.7 percent from 2010 to 2011 to $62,273. That’s 8.1 percent lower than in 2007, the year before a collapse in the housing market led to what has been the longest recession in a generation. According to the report, income rates among all race groups have not recovered from highs experienced previous to the 2001 recession caused by the collapse of the dot-com bubble.
Hardest hit by the slow growth are families led by women, with 31.2 percent of families with a female householder living under the poverty line while only 16.1 of families with a male householder living in poverty. Nationwide 46.2 million people, or 1 in 6 Americans, remain in poverty, the highest in the half century that records have been kept and at 15 percent at about the same rate as it was in 1993.
The effect of the recession has been felt in Utah, as well, despite weathering the recession better than most states.
“We compare favorably to other states,” said Utah state demographer Juliette Tennert in an article in the Salt Lake Tribune. “But compared to our history, our poverty rate is up.” Tennert noted that while Utah had lost 80,000 jobs since the beginning of the recession, 60,000 of those have returned.
However, warns Pam Perlich a senior research economist at the University of Utah, those jobs have not all been at the same wages as those lost.
“There have been tremendous job losses, and many of the new jobs that are being created are not at as high of a wage level as the jobs that were lost,” Perlich told the Salt Lake Tribune. “It’s more than a recession, it’s an economic restructuring.”
In a blog post, the White House noted there is more work to be done.
“While we have made progress digging our way out of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, too many families are still struggling and Congress must act on the policies President Obama has put forward to strengthen the middle class and those trying to get into it,” the White House post said.
How America’s continuing economic struggle will play out politically remains to be seen. After a slight bump in the polls after the Democratic National Convention, Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are polling neck and neck.
With 53 percent of 18-24 year olds living back at home with their parents, it should come as no surprise that support among the young for Obama has fallen. Young voters between ages 18 and 29 have been among the groups hit hardest by the recession, with 12.7 percent unemployed and nearly a third underemployed. Support for Obama in this group has fallen from 49 percent to just 41%, a blow to a group that was important to the President’s 2008 win.
- U.S. household income falls as gap between rich and poor widens (business.financialpost.com)
- Household Income Declines (whitehousedossier.com)
- 9 reasons why the economy is not moving “forward” under Barack Obama (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
- Study: Recovery For Burger-Flippers Only (tarpon.wordpress.com)
- Romney Says Obama Deserves No Credit For The End Of The Recession (alan.com)