The median household income rose for the first time after the Great Recession again in 2015, under Obama and has continued under Trump.
The Federal Reserve Board’s triennial Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) shows that America’s real GDP grew at 2.5 percent annually. The unemployment rate fell from 5.0 percent to 3.8 percent from 2016 to 2019. Those families who were near the bottom of income and wealth continued to gain in the median and mean net worth. The homeownership rate increased between 2016 and 2019 by 64.9 percent.
Inflation-adjusted median income rose $1,400 in the past two years, or 2.3% from 2016 to 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the government agency that tracks and compiles incomes. That compares with a 5% gain under former President Barack Obama, who took office during the last recession, and a decline of 4.2% under George W. Bush, which included the start of the 2008 financial crisis.
Trump’s term saw real median household income hit $65,084 (in 2019 dollars) for the 12 months ending in July, according to the Census Bureau. It is the highest level ever, and a gain of $4,144, or 6.8 percent before the pandemic hit the United States. The median family enjoyed its fattest paychecks ever pre-pandemic, and the middle class was shrinking and getting richer.
But Trump inherited a growing economy. More broadly, incomes have been gained every year since 2013. The median household income, which indicates the household’s income in the very middle of the income distribution, rose for the first time after the Great Recession again in 2015, under Obama. The rising trend continues even during the Trump administration’s reign. From 2015 to 2018, the median U.S. household income increased from $70,200 to $74,600, at an annual average rate of 2.1%.
Therefore, it is misleading to say that Trump's policies boosted lower and middle-income Americans. Their incomes have been on the rise since 2013 until the pandemic hit the United States.