Workers and families saw solid gains in 2015
After years of stagnant or falling incomes, Vermonters across the board enjoyed income gains in 2015, according to new U.S. Census data released last week. Median household income rose 5.1 percent last year.1
But low-income households made even more progress, with average income for the bottom 20 percent of households rising 8.5 percent. While the news was good, this was just one year of data, and median household income in 2015 remained slightly lower than it was in 2007, before the Great Recession.
Vermont’s poverty rate saw the biggest single-year drop in New England: The state’s 2015 rate was two percentage points lower than 2014. That means nearly 12,000 fewer Vermonters were living in poverty, including more than 3,300 children. In all six states, single mothers with children under five were the most likely to live in poverty, with rates among these families ranging from a third to nearly half.
Vermont’s unemployment rate is the fifth-lowest in the country. The rate has been dropping since the bottom of the recession in 2009, and the number of Vermonters officially unemployed is less than half what it was that year. Still more than 11,000 were counted as officially unemployed last month. The state’s unemployment rate rose slightly, to 3.3 percent in August, but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics did not view the change as significant.
- Half of Vermont households receive less than the median income and half receive more. [↩]