Pre-Retiree Income Crushed Since Beginning of ‘Recovery’

Blue states’ income beats red; purple states in between

Maybe recovery no longer means what we think. A new report from Sentier Research finds that almost every cohort it studied is “worse off now than it was three years ago” when the economic recovery officially began.

Pre-retirees, or those age of 55 to 64, were hardest hit, with real median annual household income declining by almost 10%, according to the report, “Changes in Household Income During the Economic Recovery: June 2009 to June 2012.”

"Based on our data, almost every group is worse off now than it was three years ago, with the exception of households with householders 65 years old and over,” said Gordon Green of Sentier in a statement. "For some groups of householdsblacks, men living alone, younger and upper-middle age brackets, those with some college but no degree, the unemployed, the self-employed, and those living in the West—the declines tended to be larger than average.”

But it’s not all bad news, especially for those who have already reached retirement age. Household income for people age 65 to 74 actually increased by 6.5%.

Highlights (or lowlights, depending on one’s point of view) from the study find:

  • Real median annual income for family households declined by 4.7%, from $66,365 to $63,276. Real median annual income for nonfamily households declined by 7.5%, from $33,002 to $30,512. Within this group, the percentage decline for men living alone (9.4%) was significantly larger than for women living alone (4.5 %).
  • Real median annual household income for householders age 25 to 34 declined by 8.9%, from $54,520 to $49,659. Among households with a householder age 55 to 64, real median annual household income declined by 9.7%, from $61,716 to $55,748. In contrast, real median annual household income for householders 65 to 74 years old showed an increase of 6.5%, from $39,548 to $42,113.
  • Real median annual income for households with a white householder (not Hispanic) declined by 5.2%, from $59,324 to $56,255. The real median annual income for households with a black householder (not Hispanic) declined by 11.1%, from $36,567 to $32,498. Households with a Hispanic householder experienced a decline in their real median annual household income of 4.1%, from $41,967 to $40,265.
  • The median annual income of households in blue states was $56,441 in June 2012, down 5.2 %, since June 2009. The median annual income of households in red states was much lower at $46,215 in June 2012, down by 5.0% since June 2009. The median income of households in purple (swing/battleground) states was intermediate between the other two categories at $51,430 in June 2012, and down by 5.7% since June 2009.
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