The closer the number is to 0, the better, with 0 indicating total equality and 1 a representation of the least equal society. "But too many hard-working, low-income Texans are still left uninsured, and the long-lasting effects of Hurricane Harvey have now created new needs among Texas families".
Those in urban centers saw their incomes climb to $61,521 on average past year, while those in rural areas saw no change and held at about $46,000. Each data set has its own strengths and weaknesses, but overall their contours are similar.
On Thursday, the Census will release information on income, poverty and health insurance for states, counties and geographic units with populations of 65,000 or more. The differences between the 2015 to 2016 percentage changes in median income for family and non-family households was not statistically significant.
"We also put it at the end of the questionnaire and people get exhausted", said Olson. "The poverty rate is really an inadequate measure in general, but particularly in New Jersey. There are still a lot of low-wage jobs".
Ultimately, income inequality remains stark in America as the rich continue to build more wealth and the country's bottom 20% of earners become worse off. Second, most of the gains accrued to people traditionally on the margins as well as those living in urban areas.
The United Way offers a third measure in its ALICE Project.
Real median incomes in 2016 for family households ($75,062) and non-family households ($35,761) increased 2.7 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively, from their 2015 medians.
His study prompted community leaders to organize a new anti-poverty group - Greater Syracuse HOPE (Healing, Opportunity, Prosperity and Engagement) - aimed at developing strategies to help poor people.
It's also worth noting that the Census's median household income numbers differ from the per capita income figures published by other federal agencies, such as the Bureau of Economic Analysis. With that caveat in mind, Americans appear to be making only slightly more than they were in 1999, when income last peaked. However, the poverty rate declined by 1.5 percentage points for foreign-born persons, which was double the 0.7 percentage point decline for native-born persons. The San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward region had the second highest poverty threshold in the country, followed by Honolulu.
"There have been positive steps, as well as positive signals of what is planned to address child poverty, but there is unfinished business", said Anita Khanna, national co-ordinator of Campaign 2000, which pushes governments to eradicate child poverty in Canada. According to Census data, the median earnings for full-time, year-round male workers was $52,000 - about the same as they made in 1972.
For much of the recovery, he could find only "dead-end" minimum-wage jobs at carwashes and discount stores.
Last year, 2016, was a rough one for Houston.
A challenge: The Census Bureau changed its methodology in 2013.