Americans' Standard of Living

by Don Boudreaux on July 31, 2008

in History, Standard of Living

Mike Cox and Richard Alm continue their compelling and straightforward use of data to show that ordinary Americans’ standard of living continues to improve.

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Speedmaster July 31, 2008 at 10:40 am

FANTASTIC link, thanks!

Methinks July 31, 2008 at 11:09 am

Don't worry. Congress and (soon) Obama will be on the case to reverse all that.

Keith July 31, 2008 at 11:54 am

Can you imagine how well we'd be doing if we weren't being sucked dry by taxes?

save_the_rustbelt July 31, 2008 at 11:58 am

"On average" I think Americans are doing much better.

Unlike Lake Wobegon, not everyone is above average.

And it will be fine in the long run…..

Sam Grove July 31, 2008 at 12:16 pm

What about our retirement?

Plac Ebo July 31, 2008 at 12:46 pm

Are there any studies that show if the Super-Rich's standard of living continues to improve?

Crusader July 31, 2008 at 2:16 pm

This is all lies. With loss of good paying union jobs it's all going downhill.

hutch July 31, 2008 at 6:02 pm

curious if anyone can shed some light on this for me:

on figure 8 (safer at work and home), what happened in 1990-ish that made deaths at work fall so much and deaths at home start to trend up?

cpurick July 31, 2008 at 6:34 pm

Aerobics, maybe?

cpurick July 31, 2008 at 6:36 pm

Aerobics, maybe?

Oil Shock July 31, 2008 at 7:37 pm

There are lies, damn lies and statistics – Benjamin Disraeili

If my hair is on fire and my bottom is in deep freeze, on an average am I doing fine?

Methinks July 31, 2008 at 9:58 pm

If my hair is on fire and my bottom is in deep freeze, on an average am I doing fine?

No. This means you've dropped acid at least one too many times.

dave smith July 31, 2008 at 10:04 pm

Just curious…did those of you who are criticizing the article read it?

Over time, a larger percentage of us have the niceties of life.

Not only do we have more income, it goes further.

There are some of us slipping behind. There were some slipping behind in the boom of the 90s as well, but…

…remember what Don (was he quoting Sowel?) has said in the past, the plural of anecdote is not data.

jpm July 31, 2008 at 10:47 pm

but Martin has a graph of Norway that shows the Bush tax cut's DIDN'T work.

SaulOhio August 1, 2008 at 6:47 am

Oil Shock clearly HASN'T read the article. Its not looking at averages. Its looking at the availability of all sorts of goods and services to the poor. If a poor family owns its own homes, a refrigerator, air conditioning, everyone gets three square meals a day, they have a car, TV with digital cable, computer, and cell phones, can they really be said to be poor?

jpm August 1, 2008 at 8:57 am

Saul clearly hasn't been watching CNN. It's really really bad out there! It hasn't been this bad since we elected Reagan! I bet they mention recession every 10 words.

vidyohs August 1, 2008 at 11:08 am

How bad is it? That question kinda sorta came to my mind last evening as I sipped a great glass of Cab from Washington state and chatted with an 81 year old Chiropractor friend (father of the Chiroprator whose newly opened office we were wine & cheesing in). The subject was maintaining health. I am now 67 and in excellent health and shape and he is 81 and as trim and healthy as I was 10 years ago.

He said to me, "The trick is to eat what ever fruit and vegetable that is in season because that is the way God meant it to be."

I nodded; but after a moment's reflection on the globalization of trade and the constant availability of fresh fruits and vegetables I suspected God had either expanded his intentions or my good friend simply assumed too much about God's plan, whatever that is.

When I was in High School and clerked at the A&P my dad managed, there were late winter and early spring months when one would sell his soul for a fresh fruit or veggie of any kind.

Yeah, we got it tough in just so many ways it's a wonder our streets aren't littered with suicides, especially of the poor.

Methinks August 1, 2008 at 11:48 am

The "poor" in this country don't know what poverty is. If Obama implements any of his Marxist proposals, they will.

Oil Shock August 1, 2008 at 12:44 pm


I am an ardent fan of free markets and a libertarian leaning individual myself. I am also a fan of Austrian School of economics, and I don't need statistics to tell me that things are better.

It is better not just in America, but in many third world countries. I just need to look around.

Hayek won a nobel prize for his theory of business cycle, and yet the bloggers here have never ever bothered to admit even the possibility of business cycles – atleast not to my knowledge.


Martin Brock August 2, 2008 at 10:20 am

but Martin has a graph of Norway that shows the Bush tax cut's DIDN'T work.

jpm has a moronic straw man that he trots out whenever he feels insecure.

jp August 4, 2008 at 11:35 am

the austrian fundies, fail to grasp Financial Analysis. Sure we have debt, we also have a Ton more Assets and a National Income over 14 Trillion dollars.

newsflash Chicken Littles', your still wrong in your pessimism and blinded by anarcho ideology

solfilm August 12, 2008 at 8:12 pm

Americans are always sooo strange. :f

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