The median income was $50,054, down 1.5 percent from 2010, statisticians reported. Real median household income was down 8.1 percent from 2007, the year before the recession began, and 8.9 percent lower than in 1999.
The report, "Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2011," said real household income was down for both black and white households. For Hispanics and Asians, there was no statistically significant change.
The bureau also reported 46.2 million people, or 15 percent of the population, had incomes below the poverty line. That was statistically unchanged from 2010.
In 2011, 48.6 million people, or 15.7 percent of the population, had no health insurance. That was down from 50 million or 16.3 percent in 2010.