Median household incomes grew and the national poverty rate fell for the third consecutive year in 2017, according to new Census Bureau estimates.
Wisconsin’s median household income rose more than $1,000 to $59,305 in 2017. Twenty-one states had higher median incomes, including Minnesota ($68,388) and Illinois ($62,992), according to estimates released last week.
At $72,268, the median household income for Dane County did not change significantly from 2016 but is nearly $9,000 more than it was in 2013.
The national median household income was $61,372.
Wisconsin’s poverty rate was 11.3 percent, statistically unchanged from the previous year and below the national rate of 12.3 percent. Dane County’s poverty rate was 11.8 percent, also unchanged from the previous year.
The poverty rate among Wisconsin families was 7.1 percent, down from 7.7 percent last year and 9.2 percent in 2013.
Nationwide household income grew by 1.8 percent after adjusting for inflation, but not everyone enjoyed the same gains. Those in the top 5 percent saw income grow by 3 percent, nearly double the rate of those in the middle.
Those in the bottom 10 percent actually brought home less money last year than they did in 2007, while those in the top 10 percent saw gains of more than 11 percent compared to what they were making before the recession.
There was also a 1.1 percent decline in median earnings for full-time workers, which is likely the result of more people joining the workforce and starting at the bottom of the pay scale, said Trudi Renwick, the Census Bureau’s assistant division chief of economic characteristics.
Wisconsin households got slightly smaller in 2017 and their members a little older.
Of the state population, 16.5 percent were 65 or older, up 0.5 points from the previous year. Dane County is slightly younger, but the trend was more pronounced, with the number of seniors jumping 0.6 points to 13.4 percent of the population.
People have also become less mobile: only 16.7 percent of Dane County residents changed addresses in 2017, down from 18.9 percent the year before.
Statewide, only 14 percent of residents moved during the year.
While there was no significant change in the percentage of foreign-born residents — who account for about 9 percent of Dane County residents and 5 percent of the statewide population — more of those immigrants are U.S. citizens than four years ago.
Among Dane County’s immigrant population, more than 52 percent were from Asia, up from 46.8 percent the year before. The percentage of European immigrants dropped below 10 percent, while those from Latin America continue to account for about 25 percent.
The percentage of people in the local workforce continued to shrink. Among Madison residents still working, more were driving to and from work by themselves, and their commutes were about a minute longer, on average, than in 2015.
The national income and poverty numbers come from the Current Population Survey, a monthly survey conducted by the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and were released Wednesday.
State and local-level estimates are from Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, an ongoing survey that gathers information on more than 40 economic, social and housing topics from randomly selected households.
Data released Thursday cover all counties and cities with at least 65,000 residents. Estimates for smaller geographies will be released in December.