Overall, median household income fell 1.5% to $50,054 last year, the fourth consecutive annual decline after adjusting for inflation, the agency said. The typical American household has lost ground in seven of the last 10 years and now takes in less cash than it did in 1996 when adjusting for inflation .

The Census Bureau’s annual income report is a key indicator of the economic health of the nation and its middle class. Median income is the true middle point of American households — half made more, half made less in 2011.

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