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Expand chart
Data: Census Bureau; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Despite a robust economy and low unemployment, household income hasn't changed much in the past 20 years.

  • Median household income was $63,179 in 2018, statistically unchanged from 2017, according to Census data released in September.
  • On an inflation-adjusted basis, households are making only 2.7% more than in 1999.
  • “Most families have just barely made up the ground lost over the past decade,” Economic Policy Institute senior economist Elise Gould said at the time.

Meanwhile, large numbers of Americans are paying significant portions of their income on rent as housing costs have outpaced growth in wages.

  • Home prices grew at a slower rate in 2019 than they did in 2018, but a shortage of housing inventory is driving price increases even in U.S. markets touting affordability like Phoenix and Tampa.

What to watch: Annual median home prices are expected to increase by 3.6% in 2020 and by 3.5% in 2021, according to a National Association of Realtors forecast.

The bottom line: “Real estate is on firm ground with little chance of price declines,” said Lawrence Yun, the group's chief economist, in a release.

  • “However, in order for the market to be healthier, more supply is needed to assure home prices as well as rents do not consistently outgrow income gains," Yun said.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.
Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness ... Trump: "Sometimes you need a little crazy"

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."

Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Trump confidante Matt Schlapp interviews Jared Kushner last February. Schlapp is seeking a pardon for a biotech executive. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

A flood of convicted criminals has retained lobbyists since November’s presidential election to press President Trump for pardons or commutations before he leaves office.

What we're hearing: Among them is Nickie Lum Davis, a Hawaii woman who pleaded guilty last year to abetting an illicit foreign lobbying campaign on behalf of fugitive Malaysian businessman Jho Low. Trump confidante Matt Schlapp also is seeking a pardon for a former biopharmaceutical executive convicted of fraud less than two months ago.