WASHINGTON — Despite eight years of economic growth since a brutal recession, some politicians and economists have worried that many Americans have not felt the benefits of the expansion.
On Tuesday, the Census Bureau painted a brighter picture, suggesting that the recovery had shifted into a new phase in recent years and is now distributing its benefits more broadly.
American households saw strong income growth last year, the bureau reported, and the gains stretched across the economic spectrum. A closely watched measure, median household income, jumped for the second straight year, reaching $59,039 — a 3.2 percent increase after inflation.
The bureau also reported that the percentage of Americans living in poverty continued to fall last year, while the share with health insurance continued to increase.
The data may sharpen the political confrontation between President Trump, who is pressing to overhaul the nation’s economic policies, and Democrats, who now have more ammunition to argue that the changes Mr. Trump seeks would mess with success.
Mr. Trump campaigned on a pledge to lift the nation’s fortunes and to repair what he described in his inaugural address as “this American carnage.” He has called for cuts to federal taxes and spending, broad reductions in regulation and limits on foreign trade.