Median Income of Women Dropped 4%--In First 3 Years of Recovery

April 24, 2014 - 5:41 PM

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(CNSNews.com) - The real median income of American women dropped a little more than four percent in the first three full years after the end of the last recession, according to data published by the Census Bureau.

The last recession began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. In 2007, according to the Census Bureau, American women 15 and older had a median income of $23,169 in constant 2012 dollars. That is the highest median income American women have ever achieved.

Median Income of Women

By 2009, the year the recession ended, the median income of American women (in constant 2012 dollars) had dropped to $22,434—a decline of $735, or about 3.2 percent, from 2007.

As of 2012, the most recent year for Census Bureau income data, the median income of American women was $21,520 in constant 2012 dollars. That was down $914 dollars—or about 4.1 percent—from 2009.

The median income of American women has not recovered in the current recovery. It has continued to decline from its pre-recession high.

The measure of “income,” according to the Census Bureau, does not include “noncash benefits, such as food stamps, health benefits, rent-free housing, and goods produced and consumed on the farm.” But it does include money a person takes in from such sources as unemployment compensation, Social Security payments, Supplemental Security Income, public assistance, disability benefits, and other cash payments such as rents, royalties, dividends, and interest.

Like median income, some other measures of the economic well-being of American women have also declined during the latest recovery.

For example, the Census Bureau also measures “earnings,” which is the money a person gets from working. This, according to the Census Bureau, “includes wages, salary, armed forces pay, commissions, tips, piece-rate payments, and cash bonuses earned, before deductions are made for items such as taxes, bonds, pensions, and union dues.” It can also take the form of “net income” from self-employment, including on a farm.

Median Earnings of Women

The real median “earnings” of American women peaked (in constant 2012 dollars) at $28,657 in 2007. By 2009, the year the recession ended, real median earnings for American women had declined to $27,864—a drop of $793, or about 2.8 percent. By 2012, the real median earnings of American women had declined to $26,882—an additional drop of $982, or about 3.5 percent, from 2009.

In total, the real median earnings of woman have declined by $1,775, or about 6.2 percent, since 2007. 55.3 percent of that decline has come since 2009.

The real median earnings of women who work full-time year-round also have declined since 2009.

Median Earnings of Women Who Work Full-Time

In 2007, the real median earnings of American women who work full-time, year-round hit an historic peak of $38,872 (in constant 2012 dollars). By 2009, the median earnings of women who work full-time, year-round had declined to $38,835—a drop of $37, or about 0.09 percent, from 2007. By 2012, the median earnings of women who work full-time, year-round had further declined to $37,791—a drop of $1,044, or about 2.7 percent, from 2009.

The median earnings of women who work full-time, year-round has not only dropped more than $1,081 in inflation-adjusted dollars since 2007, about 97 percent of that decline came after 2009, the year the recession ended.

There is a bright spot: The real median “income” (as opposed to earnings) of women who work full-time, year-round has gone up since 2009, although it has declined since both 2007 and its peak year of 2010.

Median Income of Women Who Work Full-Time Peaked in 2010

In 2007, the real median income of women who work full-time year-round was $40,051 (in constant 2012 dollars). By 2009, it had declined to $39,858—a drop of $193 or about 0.5 percent. In 2010, it climbed to an all-time high $40,480. But then it dropped to $40,019 by 2012.

At the same time, the number of women who worked full-time, year-round in a paying job in 2012 (44,051,00) was less than the number (45,621,000) who had worked full-time, year-round in a paying job in 2007.

The real median income for American men also declined from 2009 to 2012--but by less than the 4.1 percent women's median income declined during that period.

Median Income of American Men

In 2007, the real median income for men was $36,761 (in 2012 dollars). By 2009, it had declined to $34,452—a drop of $2,309, or about 6.3 percent. By 2012, it had declined to $33,904—an additional drop of $548, or about 1.6 percent.