September 26, 2000
"Today, the most important thing we can say about our economy is that it works for working families, and its success belongs to all the American people. If we stay on the path that got us here, the path of fiscal discipline, we can reach even greater heights of prosperity."
President Bill Clinton
September 26, 2000
Today, at the White House, President Clinton highlighted the findings of two reports released today by the Census Bureau on income and poverty in America. The reports show that in 1999, U.S. households enjoyed an unprecedented fifth consecutive year of significant income growth. According to the reports, the nation's poverty rate dropped from 12.7 percent in 1998 to 11.8 percent in 1999 – its lowest level in two decades – and median household income reached $40,816, the highest level ever recorded by the Census Bureau. The President urged Congress to keep America on course by passing a budget that maintains fiscal discipline and makes critical investments in the future, such as saving Social Security, strengthening Medicare, investing in education, and paying down the debt by 2012.
HIGHLIGHTS OF CENSUS BUREAU REPORTS. Today, the Census Bureau released its annual reports on income and poverty in America for 1999. Highlights include:
Strong Gains in Income
- Household income exceeded $40,000 for the first time in history, marking an unprecedented fifth year of significant growth in income;
- The median income of African American households increased 7.7 percent – the largest one-year increase ever recorded;
- The income of the median Hispanic household, adjusted for inflation, increased 6.1 percent – the largest one-year increase ever recorded;
- Family income has risen over $6,300 – or 15% – since 1993;
- For the third consecutive year, all groups have seen their incomes rise – from richest to poorest.
Strong Reduction in Poverty
- The poverty rate fell to 11.8 percent – the lowest rate in two decades;
- 1999 saw the largest one-year drop in child poverty in more than three decades;
- The elderly poverty rate fell below 10 percent for the first time in recorded history;
- The African American poverty rate fell to its lowest level on record;
- Child poverty among African Americans fell to its lowest level on record;
- The Hispanic poverty rate dropped to its lowest level since 1979;
- The poverty rate among Asian and Pacific Islander Americans is as low as it's ever been;
- 4.1 million people were lifted out of poverty by the Earned Income Tax Credit, expanded by President Clinton in 1993;
- The poverty rate in central cities had the largest percentage point decline ever recorded and saw its lowest level since 1979.
CHALLENGING CONGRESS TO STAY ON COURSE. President Clinton urged Congress to keep America on course by passing a budget that saves Social Security, strengthens Medicare with a voluntary, affordable prescription drug benefit, makes critical investments in education, and pays down the debt by 2012. The President also challenged Congress to raise the minimum wage, pass a strong, enforceable patients' bill of rights, and provide Americans with tax credits for college tuition, child care, and long-term care before the end of this legislative session.