Americans’ real incomes fell in 2022 from the previous year, new census data shows, as record-high inflation took a bite out of our paychecks.

Why it matters: The decline explains why some Americans have felt so meh about the strong economy over the past couple years.

  • It’s one reason the White House’s Bidenomics pitch, an attempt to tell a feel-good story about the economy, seems to have fallen flat so far.

By the numbers: Real median household income fell by 2.3% to $74,580.

Go deeper: If you break out the numbers by race, almost all groups saw relatively little change from 2021. The only group that experienced a significant decrease in real income was non-Hispanic white households — which saw a 3.6% drop.

  • The income measure includes wages and earnings from work, as well as Social Security benefits, unemployment insurance, retirement income, dividends and public assistance. It’s calculated pre-tax.
  • Last year’s historically high inflation caused the decline — the nominal income numbers were adjusted by a 7.8% inflation rate, the Census said.

Stunning stat: Americans with no high school diploma saw their real incomes increase by 6.4%.

What’s next: The income picture looks better in 2023, as inflation has eased  Americans are finally starting to see a rise in real wages and incomes.