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Fact Check: Bernie Sanders Falsely Claims Half of America Earns $9 to $10 an Hour

Senator Bernie Sanders falsely claimed in his closing remarks in the Democratic debate that half of the country was earning just $9 to $10 an hour.

Claim: “How does it happen in the richest country in the history of the world that half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck, trying to get by on nine to ten bucks an hour?”

Facts: A forty-hour workweek at $10 dollars per hour would equal an annual income of $20,800. In fact, the median household income in the United States was $63,179. By definition, this means that half of American households earn more than this and half earn less. But it also means that half of American incomes cannot be as low as $20,800.

The U.S Bureau of the Census estimated that the annual median personal income at $41,000 in 2019. That means that about half of Americans earn more than that, and half earn less. That makes Sanders’ claim that half of Americans earn less than $20,800 impossible.

As of 2018, only around one quarter of Americans had incomes of less than $20,800.

Verdict: Sanders is just wrong.


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