The income of the typical American household fell last year for the fourth consecutive year, the longest sustained period of decline since the early 2000s. Americans are now poorer than they were in 1999 after taking into account how inflation erodes the value of the dollar.
Median household income fell after adjusting for inflation to $50,100 in 2011, down 1.5% from a year earlier.
The Census Bureau's annual income report is considered a key indicator of the economic health of the nation and its middle class. Median income is the true middle point of American households — half made more, half made less in 2011.