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14 HOUSEHOLD INCOME TRENDS AMERICAN INCOMES 31 The Northeast Made Gains Despite the Recession Households in the other regions saw their incomes decline. Median household income grew in the Northeast between 2000 and 2005, even as incomes were declining in the other three regions. 6 percent increase in median household income during those years, after adjusting for inflation. 4 percent decline in the Midwest. Median household income was higher in the Northeast than in any other region in 2005, standing at $50,882.

Between 1980 and 2005, median household income increased only 12 percent in the Midwest compared with a 15 percent increase in the South and a 17 percent gain in the West, after adjusting for inflation. In the Northeast, median household income grew 25 percent between 1980 and 2005—more than twice as fast as in the Midwest. Although household incomes in the Midwest have grown more slowly than those in the other regions, the Midwest still has a higher median household income than the South, $45,950 versus $42,138 in 2005.

Differences in household composition explain most of the gap. Married couples head the 54 percent majority of non-Hispanic white households. In contrast, couples head only 30 percent of black households. Female-headed families—one of the poorest household types—account for 29 percent of black households. The median household income of Hispanics is higher than that of blacks for one reason only— married couples head a larger share of Hispanic households (53 percent), which boosts their overall median to $35,967.

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