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Pew Report: African-Americans Show Greatest Income Increase

African-Americans hold the greatest long-term income increase over roughly the past 25 years.
Image: black community
Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem neighborhood in New York City.Sergi Reboredo / DPA via AP

African-American adults have had the greatest long-term income increase in the U.S., and are the only major racial group to experience a decline in lower-income share, according to a pew research study released Wednesday.

From 1971-2015 African American lower-income households declined from 48 percent to 43 percent while upper-income households grew from 5 percent to 12 percent. However, the study found that African-Americans adults are still significantly less likely to be middle-income or upper-income compared with other races.

The groups making notable progress include older Americans, married couples and blacks. Despite this progress, older Americans and blacks remain more likely to be lower income and less likely to be upper income than adults overall. Those Americans without a college degree stand out as experiencing a substantial loss in economic status.

Other findings in Wednesday's study include:

  • Blacks, Hispanics and whites have all experienced a small increase in income status while the share in the lower-income tier was flat for whites and Hispanics, it ticked up one percent for African-Americans.
  • Foreign-born adults in the U.S. are more likely to be lower-income, however, foreign-born Black and Hispanics have sustained increases in income status since 2001, while Asians had a small loss in income status.