WASHINGTON — Household incomes shrank for the second year in a row in 2009, as the recession eroded the share of American families earning over $100,000 and swelled the ranks of people who are poor or just barely making it, according to census statistics released Tuesday.

The income estimates from the American Community Survey, a wide array of census statistics reported annually, underscore the devastation the recession has caused to millions of American households and families.

The median income of $50,221 is down about 4 percent from its peak since the recession began in December of 2007. That year, median household income was $52,384. Last year alone was responsible for about $1,500 of that loss.

From 2008 through 2009, real median household income fell by 2.9 percent nationwide, decreasing in 34 states and increasing in one (North Dakota), the data showed.

Almost one in five households had an income of $100,000 or more in 2009, the census reported. That was down almost a full percentage point from 2008. In contrast, almost one in four families earned less than $25,000, an increase of one percentage point.

The number and percentage of people in poverty rose in 31 states from 2008 through 2009, with no state showing a statistically significant decline.

One of the few bright spots nationally was the percentage of insured children, which increased from 90.3 percent in 2008 to 91 percent in 2009, when 1.1 million additional children were insured.

Over the same period, the uninsured rate for children increased in two states (Alaska and Minnesota) and was not statistically different in 32 states and Puerto Rico.

But the percent of uninsured people in the general population rose from 14.6 percent in 2008 to 15.1 percent in 2009, representing an increase of 2.2 million people. The percentage of uninsured climbed in 26 states, fell in three (Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico) and did not change significantly in the rest, the Census Bureau reported.