by Carrie Sheffield
As he heads into the final stretch of the election, President Trump is getting a boost from new census data showing historic, broad-based economic gains for U.S. households in 2019.
The U.S. Census Bureau on Monday released data showing median household income surging to a record high of more than $68,700 last year. The increase of 6.8% in household income was the largest one-year increase on record.
The poverty rate, meanwhile, fell to 10.5% last year, a record low, with 4.2 million Americans lifted out of poverty last year, the largest decrease in poverty since 1966.
“We’ve done a tremendous job in poverty for all people in our nation, in particular for African-Americans,” Trump told Just the News when asked about the census data at the White House on Wednesday. “I’m very proud of the numbers — African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, they had the best numbers … both employment and unemployment, depending on the definition.”
The new data shows median household income increased by 9% in the first three years of the Trump administration, compared to only 5% under eight years of the Obama-Biden administration. Census figures show 6.6 million Americans were lifted out of poverty from 2016 to 2019, “the largest 3-year reduction” in poverty to start a presidency since 1964.
The White House noted that while Biden was vice president, the number of Americans in poverty increased by nearly 787,000.
Median household incomes for African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans all hit record highs last year, along with a record-high median income for women. The income gains for blacks, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans were all one-year record increases. According to the Council of Economic Advisers, “the poverty rate fell to an all-time record low for every race and ethnic group in 2019,” and the child poverty rate hit a 50-year low.
At the White House, Trump noted that the new census data showed income inequality has fallen over the last two years. He noted that COVID-19 presented challenges during 2020 to American households but predicted a robust economic recovery, which to date has exceeded many economists’ forecasts.
“We will be back to full strength very soon,” Trump said on Wednesday at the White House. “We will be back to full strength very soon. We’re going to have a fantastic year next year. It’s looking like that. I think you’re going to have an incredible third quarter. The numbers are looking very, very strong for the third quarter.”
Jack Brewer, a former NFL football player and a member of the Black Voices For Trump Advisory Board, told Just the News that part of the decline in poverty among black Americans was due to a focus on welfare reform, jobs training programs and school choice.
“Getting out of poverty is a deep issue,” Brewer said in a video interview with Just the News. “I think the reason why you saw so much progress — pre-coronavirus — from this president is because he actually went at the core of issues issues like welfare reform. When I say welfare reform, I mean the fact that the president, through his policies, [was] able to take 5 million people off of welfare and give them actual jobs, so to incentivize folks to actually get off welfare to start jobs.”
Brewer praised the Trump administration for implementing jobs training programs, singling out Ivanka Trump for her work in this area. He also said Trump’s policies on school choice and vouchers allowed black families to take their children out of failing, inner-city schools and give them another chance elsewhere.
“And so these are deep, systematic issues, and you’re just not going to wave a wand and end poverty,” Brewer said. “But what it really takes is it takes passing policies like school choice, that allow a mother to have some control over where her city or state is spending $20,000 or $25,000 per kid on their child’s education, yet failing them.”
Brewer praised the Trump administration for securing permanent funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which previously had to repeatedly ask for public funding.
“I know that’s what took me to another level is I was the first of my family to get a chance to go to school,” Brewer said. “And so these are the real policies that need to be put in place to end poverty. It’s more than just the unemployment rate. It’s actually being bold enough to go into the deep, systematic issues.”
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Carrie Sheffield is a reporter at Just the News.