For most Americans, the answer to this hardy perennial of a presidential election year question is, of course, No. In fact, most Americans aren’t even better off in terms of household income than they were two years ago.
According to a report issued by Sentier Research, a firm headed by two former Census Bureau officials, inflation adjusted household median income fell by 4.8 percent from June 2009 through June 2012. Moreover, incomes have dropped more since the beginning of the “recovery” than they did during the recession, when they declined by 2.9 percent.
No wonder most Americans tell pollsters the recession hasn’t over. For them, it persists.
Two years ago, in mid-2010, the inflation adjusted household income was approximately $51,000, down from about $56,000 short before the recession began. The number then dipped to around $50,000 in 2011. Now it is just about back to $51,000.
The decline in household income has occurred pretty much across-the-board. All major ethic groups are affected – African-Americans the most; Hispanics somewhat less than whites. Both public and private sector employees have suffered a decline although, not surprisingly the private sector – supposedly doing “fine” – has suffered more.
Incomes have declined in all regions of the country. However, the Midwest has suffered the least, with incomes falling by only 1.1 percent in that part of the country over the past three years, according to the study.
For this reason, Obama may continue to hang tough in the key state of Ohio, and Romney may find it difficult to offset the loss of Ohio (if he needs to) by winning in other Midwestern states.