Maine’s median household income increased by over $3,100 last year to more than $56,000.
That’s according to data from the American Community Survey released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.
“But that doesn’t mean that everyone’s income has gone up by $3,000 a year — far from it,” says Philip Trostle, an economics professor with the University of Maine.
Trostle says that while he expects median income to rise in a strong economy, the statistic likely masks other factors. For example, he says poverty and food insecurity numbers may remain significant, even though Maine’s middle incomes have expanded.
“It just becomes incredibly difficult to summarize what’s going on with a simple, meaningful number,” he says.
Maine’s median income still lags behind the national median of $60,336, and is well below the New England average median of $71,494.
The American Community Survey is an annual look at various social and economic indicators.