Good news! The average annual income level has surpassed its 2008 peak, not accounting for inflation.
Bad news! That rebound has come almost entirely for high-income households.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released new graphs on household income levels and spending in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Unsurprisingly, the top 20 percent of earners saw the greatest boost: their 2012 incomes were $8,000 greater than their 2008 incomes. But for the lowest quintile, their incomes are still below their 2008 level.
As for expenditures—what households actually spend their money on—the rich lead the way there as well, but the gap between them and middle- and low-income households is much smaller:
What are the rich spending their additional income on? Mostly health care, transportation and education while they’re consuming a lot less in housing. As for low-income households, they’ve cut back on apparel and entertainment while spending more on “cash contributions,” which include giving money to people outside the household or organizations (such as to a charity):
Check out the full slideshow at BLS’s site.