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WASHINGTON —  U.S. household incomes barely rose during President Donald Trump's second year in office but the poverty rate fell to 11.8% last year from 12.3% in 2017, suggesting how Americans view their own prosperity could once again become a central issue in the U.S. presidential election next year.

The Census bureau said on Tuesday that the median U.S. household income was $63,179 in 2018, not statistically different from the $62,626 registered in 2017.

The data reflect a year in which U.S. economic growth was boosted by Trump's tax overhaul and a rise in government spending, the effects of which have begun to wane.

The unemployment rate fell to 3.9% by the end of 2018 from 4.1% a year earlier and has since declined further in what is now the longest U.S. economic expansion in history.

The Trump administration's tax changes, passed into law in late 2017, reduced tax rates for most Americans but were criticized for disproportionately benefiting the wealthy.

Less health care coverage

About 27.5 million residents, or 8.5% of people, did not have health insurance in 2018, up from 25.6 million, or 7.9%, during the previous year. It is the first year-to-year increase in the percentage of uninsured people since 2008-2009, Census said.

The Trump administration has taken a series of measures, including sharply cutting funding previously provided to groups that help people get health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, that have weakened the law's benefits and protections.

Polling shows that health care is a top concern for voters leading up to the 2020 election and Democrats vying to be their party's candidate have focused on the issue.

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