NC Budget and Tax Center

Middle Income Households Continue to Lose Ground Despite Improving Economy

Data released Wednesday by the Census Bureau show that the middle class lost ground in terms of income for the fourth consecutive year. This slump occurred even though the economy was growing, albeit modestly. In 2011, real household income in the middle of the income distribution was $50,054, a 1.5 percent ($780) decline since 2010. These households are bringing home less real income than they did in 1996. Since 2007, the year the Great Recession began, median household income dropped by 8.1 percent ($4,400).

Working age households in the middle of the income distribution were hit even harder in 2011. Median household income for this group was $55,600, falling by 2.4 percent ($1,400) since 2010 and 9 percent ($5,700) since 2007. Workers’ wages are falling behind even though productivity is up in the nation. Budget and Tax Center research shows that North Carolina’s workers’ pay growth is also lagging far behind productivity gains.

Well, if the middle class lost ground and the poverty rate was unchanged during the same time period, to whom did the economic gains accrue? Read more

Falling Behind in NC

Falling Behind: State Funding for Senior Community Falls as Population Growth Spikes

North Carolina provides a support system for seniors through the Aging and Adult Services Division in the Department of Health and Human Services. Approximately 1 in 10 seniors in North Carolina live in poverty and rely on these supports. Yet, under the House FY2012-13 budget proposal, funding for Aging and Adult Services would decline by approximately 3 percent going back to FY2007-08. This drop in funding would be accompanied by a 24 percent increase in population growth for the adult population 65. Other estimates show the senior population will double over the next 20 years and is the fastest growing population in the state. The state cannot afford to fall behind and underfund services for this growing and valuable community.

Read more