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Middle-Class Families Made Less In 2012 Than They Did In 1989

Census data also shows household incomes in 2012 were at the same levels as 2011.

Posted on September 17, 2013, at 2:24 p.m. ET

U.S. Census Bureau data on income released Tuesday shows the median household income in 1989 was greater than in 2012 when adjusted for inflation. The average American household in 1989 made $51,682, but $51,017 in 2012.

"Headlines about these numbers tend to focus on how we have now experienced a lost decade for the middle-class American family, with incomes back to their late 1990s level. But as the chart shows it's really worse than that," said Neil Irwin, a columnist at The Washington Post. "This isn't a lost decade for economic gains for Americans. It is a lost generation."

Median household income in 2012 did not change from 2011 enough to be statistically significant, according to Census data. The number of people in poverty, 46.5 million, also remained statistically the same from 2011 to 2012.

Below is income in 2011 and 2012 across age groups.

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