Average money income of families and persons both reached record levels in 1959, according to estimates released today by the Bureau of the Census, Department of Commerce. The average (median) income of families was $5,400 in 1959, a gain of $330, or 6 percent, over 1958. For persons, the median income was $2,600; this was $130, or 5 percent higher than a year earlier. Most of the increase in money income represented a gain in real purchasing power since prices rose only slightly between 1958 and 1959.1
The rise in family incomes continued the general upswing in income that has characterized most of the postwar period. Between 1947 and 1959, average family money income has risen from $3,000 to $5,400, or about 80 percent. A good part of this advance reflected the rise that took place in consumer prices, but there was also a substantial increase in real purchasing power. In terms of constant (1959) dollars, average family money income increased from about $4,000 in 1947 to $5,400 in 1959, a rise that averaged approximately $120 a year over this period.
1 The Consumer Price Index of the Department of Labor averaged 123.5 in 1958 and 124.6 in 1959.
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