More bad news concerning the nation’s middle class.

The median household income in the United States fell to $50,303 last year – a 3.6 percent decline.

The decline ended three straight years of increases and was blamed on the national recession.

The nation’s poverty rate was 13.2 percent, up from 12.5 percent, and 39.8 million people lived below the poverty line, up from 37.3 million a year earlier. The poverty line in 2008 was defined as $22,025 for a family of four.

Other findings:

The number of people without health insurance rose from 45.7 million in ’07 to 46.3 million in ’08. The percentage without insurance was unchanged.

Median ‘08 income by race:
Non-Hispanic whites: $55,530, down 2.6 percent
African American: $34,218), down 2.8 percent
Asians, $65,637, down 4.4 percent
Hispanics, $37,913, down 5.6 percent.

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