US poverty rate falls, median income rises in 2016 -Census


WASHINGTON, Sept 12 (Reuters) - The U.S. poverty rate fell for the second straight year in 2016 to 12.7 percent, while median income rose to $59,000 in 2016 from $57,200 a year earlier, according to federal government data released on Tuesday.

More than 40.6 million people in the United States were living in poverty last year, 2.5 million fewer than in 2015 and 6.0 million fewer than in 2014, the U.S. Census Bureau said in its annual report on income, poverty and health insurance coverage.

The 12.7 percent poverty rate represented a decrease of 0.8 percentage points from 13.5 percent in 2015, it said.

"This is the second consecutive annual decline in poverty," the bureau said.

The U.S. poverty rate varies depending on household. In 2016, a family of four with two adults and two children with a household income of $24,339 or less, two adults under age 65 with $16,543 or less, or someone aged 65 or older with $11,511 in annual income would all meet the poverty threshold, according to Census.

The bureau said the 2016 poverty rate was not significantly higher than the 12.5 percent poverty rate in 2007, the year before the most recent U.S. recession.

The number of poor decreased for most demographic groups with the exception of adults over 65 years old, the only population group that posted an increase in the number living in poverty, it added.

Additionally, the supplemental poverty measure was 13.9 percent, it said. That metric factors in various expenses and regional differences in the cost of living as well as the support the poor might receive from government programs.

Median household income, meanwhile, rose to $59,039 in 2016, a 3.2 percent increase from 2015 and the second consecutive annual increase in the category, the Census Bureau said.

The bureau also said 28.1 million people in the United States, or 8.8 percent, lacked health insurance coverage in 2016 compared with 29 million, or 9.1 percent, in 2015. (Reporting by Susan Heavey in Washington; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Matthew Lewis)

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