By Tami Luhby @CNNMoney
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - Middle-class families continued to see their incomes decline in the aftermath of the Great Recession, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released Wednesday.
Median household income fell to $50,054 in 2011, down 1.5% from a year earlier. Income inequality widened, as the highest income echelon experienced a jump in incomes, while those in the middle of the income range saw incomes shrink.
Meanwhile, the national poverty rate hit 15.0% in 2011, down slightly from 15.1% the year before. Some 46.2 million people fell below the poverty line last year. The poverty threshold for a family of four was $23,021.
Most experts were expecting an increase in poverty, but Census officials said an increase in the number of people working full-time helped keep the rate in check.