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Economic Stagnation?

This recent Facebook post by Steve Horwitz on the living standards of ordinary Americans prompted me to steal a few minutes away from a paper that I’m currently working on – a paper on changes in the living standards of ordinary Canadians since the mid-1970s.  In the course of my diversion from my exploration of Canadian data I found this September 2013 report from the U.S. Census Bureau.  It’s a report that I don’t recall seeing until just now.

Of particular interest is page one of Table 3 (the first item pictured here; click to enlarge).

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And I found Figure 6 also to be especially interesting:

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I suppose that if one were intent to use these Census Bureau data to tell a story of American middle-class stagnation, one could do so. After all, the number of American households with a refrigerator in 2011 is only one-tenth of a percentage point higher than was that number in 1992 and one-tenth of a percentage point lower than it was in 2010.