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Census: Incomes Continue To Climb In The Commonwealth

Ervins Strauhmanis/Creative Commons

Days after the U.S. Census Bureau released new data showing Americans' incomes were up by 5.2 percent from 2014-15 — the first significant increase since the Great Recession — the agency issued region-specific numbers.

The data, released Thursday, comes from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Here are three things to know about the changes in Kentucky:

  • Median household incomes in the commonwealth also increased in 2015. The median household income is just more than $45,000. That’s a 5.1 percent increase from a little more than $43,000 in 2014. Kenny Colston, a spokesman for the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, says although an increase is great, it’s not time to have a party over these numbers. He says longstanding inequalities still exist among geographic areas and race in the state when it comes to economic disparities. “Median income has only improved in three of the congressional districts,” he says. Those districts are 3 and 6, which includes Louisville and Lexington, respectively, as well as the 1st District, which includes far Western Kentucky.
  • The rate of uninsured Kentuckians went down. In 2015, the uninsured rate in Kentucky was 6 percent. That’s a decrease from 14.3 percent in 2013. The decrease between 2013 and 2015 is one of the biggest among the 50 states, according to theKentucky State Data Center.
  • Among African-Americans, the poverty rate is 30.8 percent. For white Kentuckians it’s 16.9 percent. Ashley Spalding, policy analyst for the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, points to the long, complex history of structural inequalities, including access to good jobs, wages and education. “It also doesn’t help matters that there are racial inequities in our criminal justice system as well," she says.
Roxanne Scott covers education for WFPL News.

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