Pandemic-related economic insecurity among Black and Hispanic households would have been worse without a swift policy response

by nyljaouadi1
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The Census Bureau report on income, poverty, and health insurance coverage in 2020 reveals an expected shock to median household income relative to 2019 resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and recession. Across all racial and ethnic groups, median household income either declined or was statistically unchanged from the previous year.

While Census cautions that the 2020 income estimates may be overstated due to a decline in response rates for the survey administered in March of this year, real median income declined 4.5% among Asian households (from $99,400 to $94,903), 2.6% among Hispanic households (from $56,814 to $55,321), 2.7% among non-Hispanic white households (from $77,007 to $74,912), and was statistically unchanged for Black households (from $46,648 to $46,600) as seen in Figure A.

In 2019, Black American households finally surpassed the median income peak they achieved prior to the Great Recession of 2008-2009. In 2020, however, the pandemic recession cut that long recovery short.

In 2020, the median Black household earned just 61 cents for every dollar of income the median white household earned (unchanged from 2019), while the median Hispanic household earned 74 cents (unchanged from 2019).

Real median household income by race and ethnicity, 2000–2020

Year White  Black  Hispanic  Asian  White-imputed   Black-imputed  Hispanic-imputed  Asian-imputed  White  Black  Hispanic  Asian  White  Black  Hispanic  Asian 
2000 $68,768 $44,718 $49,995 $71,198 $45,990 $48,437
2001 $67,864 $43,191 $49,193 $70,262 $44,420 $47,660
2002 $67,669 $42,098 $47,763 $75,931 $70,060 $43,296 $46,274 $81,952
2003 $67,404 $41,885 $46,552 $78,581 $69,786 $43,076 $45,101 $84,812
2004 $67,187 $41,534 $47,078 $78,993 $69,561 $42,716 $45,611 $85,257
2005 $67,476 $40,621 $47,200 $81,175 $69,861 $42,298 $43,846 $86,530
2006 $67,467 $41,353 $48,623 $82,672 $69,851 $42,529 $47,108 $89,228
2007 $68,731 $42,664 $48,406 $82,726 $71,160 $43,878 $46,897 $89,286
2008 $66,924 $41,392 $45,692 $79,105 $69,289 $42,569 $44,268 $85,378
2009 $65,865 $39,608 $46,004 $79,178 $68,193 $40,735 $44,570 $85,457
2010 $64,794 $38,258 $44,772 $76,453 $67,084 $39,346 $43,377 $82,516
2011 $63,912 $37,331 $44,549 $75,120 $66,171 $38,393 $43,161 $81,077
2012 $64,391 $38,084 $44,055 $77,523 $66,667 $39,167 $42,682 $83,670
2013 $64,854 $38,704 $45,592 $74,643 $67,146 $39,805 $44,171 $80,562 $67,146 $39,805 $44,171 $80,562
2014 $64,854 $39,021 $46,505 $81,315 $64,854 $39,021 $46,505 $81,315
2015 $65,948 $40,656 $49,328 $84,310 $65,948 $40,656 $49,328 $84,310
2016 $68,778 $43,217 $51,425 $87,837 $68,778 $43,217 $51,425 $87,837
2017 $71,958 $42,865 $53,311 $85,882 $71,958 $42,865 $53,311 $85,882 $72,005 $42,226 $52,974 $85,882
2018 $72,820 $42,977 $53,036 $89,882
2019 $77,007 $46,648 $56,814 $99,400
2020 $74,912 $46,600 $55,312 $94,903  
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