FACT CHECK: Has Median Household Income Reached An All-Time High?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Reporter

President Donald Trump claimed at a rally in Richmond, Kentucky, Saturday that median household income had reached a record high.

“Median household income has reached an all-time high. That’s pretty good. Means you’re making more money than you’ve ever made before,” he told the audience.

Verdict: True

Median household income reached $61,372 in 2017, the highest ever reported, both nominally and when adjusted for inflation.

Fact Check:

The Census Bureau has been tracking median household income since 1967. It reached record levels for the second straight year in 2017, up 1.8 percent from 2016 in inflation-adjusted dollars.

The Census Bureau calculates household income using data from its annual population survey. While 2017 was a record year, the Bureau notes that the survey’s income questions were redesigned in 2014 for 2013 data, making prior years not directly comparable. It’s estimated that the redesign resulted in a 3.2 percent increase in income for 2013.

By applying that percentage to prior years, median household income was $61,966 in 1999 and $61,421 in 2007, compared to $61,372 in 2017.

“Without adjusting for the change in the income questions, 2017 has the highest median household income on record (since 1967). When you adjust for the change, median household income in previous years was just as high,” explains the Census Bureau website.

Median household income for non-Hispanic whites increased to $68,145 in 2017, a 2.6 percent increase. For Hispanics, it rose by 3.7 percent to $50,486. Median household income decreased slightly for blacks, dropping to $40,258, and declined 2.2 percent for Asians, who had a median household income of $81,331 in 2017.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Reporter
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