La Crosse County incomes were up and poverty rates down in 2016, according to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The median household income — meaning half of households took home more and half took less — rose to about $54,823, according to estimates from the American Community Survey released Thursday. That’s up from an inflation-adjusted $49,933 in 2015.

Average household income fell from about $73,384 to $71,375, suggesting slower growth of upper end earnings.

An estimated 15,979 county residents — just over 14 percent of the total population — were living in poverty, down from an estimated 15.2 percent the year before.

The changes are not statistically significant, however, as the margins of error for the estimates overlap.

Among the 23 Wisconsin counties included in Thursday’s data, La Crosse had the second highest poverty rate behind Milwaukee County. That’s due in part to a large student population: more than 36 percent of those older than 3 with poverty-level incomes were enrolled in college or graduate school.

Excluding those older than 3 enrolled in post-secondary school, La Crosse County has a poverty rate of 8.75 percent, significantly lower than in Milwaukee, Racine or Kenosha counties.

The share of the local population without health insurance coverage fell one point to 4.3 percent. That’s down from about 8.1 percent at the beginning of the decade.

The numbers are consistent with nationwide trends: 30 states saw an increase in real median household incomes, while poverty rates were down in 24 states.

On Tuesday the Census Bureau released results from a separate survey that found nationwide household income rose 3.2 percent to $59,039, marking the second consecutive year that income has grown. The national poverty rate fell 0.8 points to 12.7 percent.

The overall number of people without health insurance fell to 28.1 million, or about 8.8 percent of the U.S. population.

Thursday’s estimates come from the American Community Survey, an ongoing survey that gathers information on more than 40 economic, social and housing topics from randomly selected households. The 2016 data are available for all counties and cities with at least 65,000 residents.

Multiyear estimates for smaller geographies will be released in December.

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Reporter

Rhymes with Lubbock. La Crosse Tribune reporter and data geek. Covers energy, transportation and the environment, among other things. Call him at 608-791-8217.

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