U.S. median income fell last year while the poverty rate stayed relatively stable at its record high of 46.2 million people, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released Wednesday.
Income inequality increased 1.6% in the country as measured by the Gini index, marking the first time since 1993 the index has shown an increase of any kind.
Median household income was $50,054 in 2011, a 1.5% decrease from the prior year, which also saw a decline, the Census found. The overall decline in median household income since 2007—the year preceding the start of the recession—was just over 8% when adjusted for inflation.
The poverty rate in 2011 remained at 15%, representing 46.2 million Americans, including 16.1 million children. That figure marked a new record number of Americans living in poverty when it first hit last year after climbing for several straight years that were marked by an unstable economy and high unemployment.
Households headed by women and blacks or Hispanics continue to see greater levels of poverty than those headed by men or non-Hispanic whites. Hispanics did see a decline in the overall poverty rate from 26.5% in 2010 to 25.3%.
Full-time working women continue to make 77% of the median earnings of men working full-time, year-round ($37,118 vs. $48,202), the Census also reported.