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US household incomes rise in first since recession

[WASHINGTON] Median household income in the United States rose last year for the first time since the Great Recession, with Americans now better able to make ends meet.

According to Commerce Department data released Tuesday, real US median household income rose 5.2 per cent between 2014 and 2015 to US$56,516. The poverty rate also fell 1.2 percentage points to 13.5 per cent, with 43.1 million Americans living in poverty, 3.5 million fewer than in 2014.

"This is the first annual increase in median household income since 2007, the year before the most recent recession," said a statement from the Census Bureau, an organ of the Commerce Department.

However, the statement noted that household incomes remained 1.6 per cent lower than in 2007, the year before the global financial crisis, and were 2.4 per cent lower than a peak in 1999.

While there was no significant improvement in US income inequality, the share of the public living without health insurance fell from 10.4 per cent to 9.1 per cent, or 29 million people, in 2015.