Median Household Income Is Falling In Almost Every Single Major American City

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Median household income is falling in the vast majority of U.S. states and in virtually every single major U.S. city.  According to the Census Bureau’s annual survey of income and poverty in the United States, of the 52 largest metro areas in the nation, only the city of San Antonio did not see a decline in median household income in 2009.  Needless to say, that is not good news.  If incomes are falling from coast to coast, then how in the world can anyone claim that we are experiencing a “recovery”?  The truth is that we are not in the middle of an economic recovery.  What we are in the middle of is a long-term economic decline.  Incomes are going down and middle class American families find themselves squeezed like never before.  Meanwhile, unemployment has skyrocketed in recent years and it has become much harder to get a good job.  Less Americans than ever are able to achieve anything even close to resembling the American Dream.  Things are getting really tough out there, and as more jobs and factories leave the United States, as the U.S. government goes into even more debt and as the economy continues to implode things are going to get even worse.


According to the Census Bureau, median household income declined in 34 U.S. states in 2009, and the only state where median household income actually moved up was in North Dakota.

In some areas of the United States, the decline in household income during 2009 was absolutely jaw dropping….

*In Detroit, median household income declined 10% to $48,535.

*In Orlando, median household income dropped almost 10% to $46,856.

*In Cleveland, median household income fell 8.5% to $45,395.

*In Miami, median household income declined 8.2% to $45,946.

*In Indianapolis, median household income dropped 7.1% to $50,140.

Remember, these declines were just in one single year.

And each year, 40 or 50 thousand dollars buys a whole lot less than it did the year before.

In fact, as I have written about previously, it is exceedingly difficult for an average American family of four to make it on $50,000 these days.  Money just does not stretch as far as it used to.

So is there any city in the United States that is doing relatively well?

Yes, there is.

Washington, D.C. has the highest median household income of any major U.S. city.  With a median household income of $85,198, the folks over in D.C. are doing quite well.

But what should we expect?  As the federal government continues to grow, Washington D.C. is rapidly becoming the center of the economy.

Today, the average federal worker makes nearly twice as much in total compensation as the average worker in the private sector does.

Does that seem like a good thing to you?

Of course not.

We are descending into European-style socialism as a staggering rate and the private sector is dying a very slow and painful death.

In fact, it is becoming increasingly difficult to live a middle class lifestyle without working for the government these days.

The percentage of Americans that are hanging on by their financial fingernails continues to go up. According to a poll taken in 2009, 61 percent of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck.  That was up significantly from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.

Unfortunately, a growing number of Americans are not even “hanging in there” anymore. Nearly 10 million Americans now receive unemployment insurance, which is almost four times as many as were receiving it back in 2007.

Poverty is exploding from coast to coast and tens of millions of Americans now find themselves completely dependent on the federal government. The number of Americans enrolled in the food stamp program passed the 41 million mark for the first time ever in June. More than 50 million Americans are now on Medicaid, the U.S. government health care program originally designed principally to help the poor.

Yes, things really are that bad.

Incomes are going down and yet health insurance premiums are skyrocketing.

Foreclosures continue to set records and there are very few signs that the housing crisis is going to end any time soon.

U.S. consumers are completely and totally tapped out, and yet everyone expects them to start spending again soon and pull us out of this “recession”.

The reality is that there is not going to be any “recovery” without good jobs for the American people.

But every single day more factories and more good jobs flee our shores and they are never coming back.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government goes into much more debt every single month, our state and local governments go into much more debt every single month and America becomes poorer as a nation every single month.

Can someone please explain to me how in the world that is a recipe for long-term economic success?

It is time to wake up, America.  Your economic goose is cooked.  The government can borrow and borrow and borrow to mask our problems for a while, but eventually this whole thing is going to come crashing down like a house of cards.

We are in deep, deep, deep trouble and it is time to admit it.

Michael T. Snyder's Shocking New Thriller - The Beginning Of The End


  • Gary

    this middle class wage stagnation/decrease has been going on since Reagan. It is becoming an issue as women are now fully in the workforce, people have ratcheted up their hours worked, and now their ATM houses are toast. There is no way people can be middle class unless wages go up period. There is plenty of money just look at Wall Street bonus/salaries and how much Greedy CEO’s make.

    BTW-Any rich person making over a million dollars per year that is whining about paying an additional 3.6 % tax is an A**h**e. I would give almost anything to have that life of luxury.

    Michael-please stop lying about us becoming more socialist. I wish we were so we could have much more income and wealth equality. Unless the wealth gets spread around more fairly I am sure there will be a revolution.

    The USA is now a Banana Republic (BRA) as one of your great posters El Pollo de Oro said. People need to listen to him about life in these banana republics.

  • Mr Carpenter

    As much as I generally disagree with Gary and have warned continually about the mistakes made by envious people in 1789-1799 France (revolution) and Soviet Union (disaster), I have to say that I read the website and today it had this tid-bit of information:

    “Go back to Domhoff’s work on Class, Income, and Power in America (here) and scroll down to the charts: The bottom 80% of Americans (which I’m in, can’t speak for you) have only 15% of the net worth in the country, and most of that I expect was in home (and second home) equity. With the Second Depression’s foreclosure rates and such, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was down to the 14% and maybe as low as 12% range.

    Moreover, Domhoff (and others, it’s not just him) figure those of us in the bottom 80% had only 7% of the financial wealth and again, with the decline in retirement assets (some of which still hold yet-to-be-revealed losses, I’m sure) that may be down to 6% — or God forbid even lower. Maybe that’s OK with you; it’s not with me.”

    George’s point (the author of the website) is reasonable enough, to my mind, even if this makes Gary think I’ve changed teams (I haven’t).

    “Maybe something like the ‘bottom 80%’ should get 50% of net worth and on the financial wealth side, I’d argue that once concentration of power in the hands of the very few passed a certain point, democracy stops being democratic and becomes ruled by interest groups that operate at the beck and call of the ultra rich.

    I got the idea that “The New Elite” would be a fine book to read (it’s on my list) since it likely gives a series of good data points on the road to financial exploitation.”

    I have to sort of agree that when you get past 3rd world country levels of income disparity in a society, which George mentioned in yesterday’s report (also still online), the the danger is that violence will erupt in a very big way eventually.

    As Gerald Celente always says “when people have nothing to lose, they “lose it”…”.

    And clearly, voluntarily not passing on billions of dollars of “family wealth” from one generation to the next isn’t likely to happen on a voluntary basis, which is why most nations have progressive tax levels – in order to better society by not allowing massive concentrations of money/power into only a few families’ hands.

    Is that what you are talking about, Gary? Because, that I can get behind.

    But the money people EARN for themselves is THEIRS. I hope you can see the distinction. And sometimes, some people have better talents and abilities, and yes even luck, than others – i.e. there is always going to be disparity in wealth.

    Even the Soviets were liars when they said they had a classless society – and that everyone was equal. They were not – or does anyone suppose the peasants who couldn’t afford a car really thought the Politburo people living in Moscow, being driven in massive limousines, were their equal?

  • mole

    but if/ the average household is 25 illegal alien workers sharing 45,000

  • mole

    the top 10 percent most likely get or own 99 percent of everything with the top 1 percent getting 99 percent of that 99 percent and the rest of that 99 percent goes to the 9 percent of the top 10 percent who pay all the taxes because they are the rich and usefull idiots who defend the status quo……all else are peasants

  • J

    The government will no longer protect us. The jobs will leave and our standard of living will begin to equalize with other countries. There is a great adjustment coming – the ‘value’ of assets will have to be adjusted to the value of our jobs. The remaining prized jobs are state, federal and large multinational companies.

    Also, a household income of 50k, with 2 workers, is 25k per year or $12.50 per hour per person. I understand this hourly-wage figure is low because not every household has 2 workers, but this is very scary when it costs $40 to fill my gas tank.

  • Gary

    mr. carpenter I think we can agree. I still have a hard time with hedge funds managers “earning” (i use the term lightly) 1 billion dollars per year and CEO’s making many multiples of what the employees earn. Consider-in the 60’s is was about 45x the average worker and now it is in excess of 500 times the average worker. Did CEO’s all of a sudden get that much smarter? I would say no. It is a rigged system.

    What about CEO’s who run their company into the ground or get fired like the HP guy Heard but still get millions?

    The system is rigged.

  • Greg

    For those of you who regularly read this blog, Gary is the epitome of the success that the elites have had. They brought about this chaos very intentionally and very methodically. They use chaos and pain to get the people to whine for a solution. They are then quick to offer that solution. Gary is begging the same people who are intentionally destroying the middle class to come in and assert more power to save us. Save us from what? From them? Sure, Gary, make sure they get even more power so they will make everything better.

  • JLS

    “We are descending into European-style socialism ”
    Socialism is statism + equality.
    To have quelity you need much more taxes on rich people, about 70/80% marginal rate, this is not the case in USA.

  • El Pollo de Oro

    Gary: Gracias, jefe! If I were making six figures (yeah, like that’s going to happen in this abysmal economy) and had a choice between living in Brazil or living in Western Europe, I’d take Western Europe in a heartbeat. Sure, I’d be paying lower taxes in Brazil, but I’d need a friggin’ armed bodyguard every time I went to the supermarket—even in broad daylight. No thanks! That’s a real contrast to cities like Madrid, Barcelona or Rome, where there is a lot of nonviolent petty crime (pickpockets) but you don’t have nearly as much violent crime (kidnappings, armed robberies, nasty home invasions) as you have in parts of Latin America and the Caribbean. Affluent businessmen in Armani suits walk around by themselves in Milan late at night; their counterparts in Caracas and Mexico City worry about their sons and daughters being kidnapped by gangs of armed thugs in broad daylight (Naples is the only city I’ve visited in Europe where I felt somewhat unsafe–definitely watch your back if you visit Napoli). So Arianna Huffington is absolutely right when she says that the Third World-ization of this country will ultimately create an environment in which the wealthy (or, for that matter, what’s left of the American middle class) live in constant danger 24-7. Come to think of it, the European tax rates are probably much cheaper than the “bodyguard budget” you need for your family in Rio de Janeiro.

    Of course, the neocon globalist vampires who have gangraped and pillaged this country would love to make Europe part of the Third World as well. But Europeans, God bless ‘em, won’t go down without a fight—and that includes a lot of very well-heeled, Armani-suit-wearing businessmen, who like the fact that their chances of getting carjacked are much, much lower than they would be in Johannesburg.

    Carjackings, muggings at gunpoint in broad daylight, beheadings by narcotraficantes rivales, kidnappings left and right, bank robberies galore, los policías paid off by the thugs they’re supposed to be arresting, high school students from the favelas recruited for entry-level positions as hit men–life in a banana republic is such fun……NOT. Receiving your wife’s severed finger in the mail with her wedding ring still attached because the kidnappers want to show you that they want the ransom sooner rather than later—globalism is such a joy……NOT. And sadly, that’s what The Banana Republic of America’s grim future is going to look like if the globalist neocon bastards get their way. Que dios nos ayude.

  • BlueBird

    “J”, the govt. isn’t going to protect us. You are correct. In fact, once the foreign wars are over, we will become ‘domestic terrorist’ as seen in recent govt. raids on anti-war protesters.

    Might read a new book out about a small town in America that stands up to federal tyranny. It’s powerful cause it could be each of us defending our homes/families frm tyranny. I recommend it.