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Report Number ACSBR/08-3
Jessica Semega
Component ID: #ti1791796961

Introduction

This report is one of a series produced to highlight results from the 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). The report series is designed to cover a variety of economic topics, such as poverty, occupation, home values, and labor force participation. This series provides information about the changing economic characteristics of the nation and states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The ACS also provides detailed estimates of demographic, social, economic, and housing characteristics for congressional districts, counties, places, and other localities every year. A description of the ACS is provided in the text box “What Is the American Community Survey?”

This report presents data on men’s and women’s earnings at the national and state levels based on the 2008 ACS. “Earnings” are the sum of wage and salary income and self-employment income. Earnings are often the largest part of overall income. The 2008 ACS showed that 81 percent of aggregate income came from earnings. Estimates are restricted to full-time, year-round workers 16 years or older, unless noted otherwise in this report. “Year-round” means an individual worked 50 or more weeks in the past 12 months, including paid time off for sick leave or vacation. “Full-time” means that the individual usually worked 35 or more hours per week.

In the 2008 ACS, information on income was collected between January and December 2008, and people were asked about income for the previous 12 months (the income reference period), yielding a total income time span covering 23 months (January 2007 to November 2008). The Census Bureau recommends using caution when making labor force data comparisons from 2008 or later with data from prior years. The Census Bureau introduced an improved sequence of labor force questions in the 2008 ACS questionnaire. This impacted the number of full-time, year-round workers.

The data contained in this report are based on an ACS sample that was selected for interview in 2008 and are estimates of the actual figures that could have been obtained by interviewing the entire population using the same methodology. All comparisons presented in this report have taken sampling error into account and are significant at the 90 percent confidence level unless noted otherwise. Due to rounding, some details may not sum to totals. For information on sampling and estimation methods, confidentiality protection, and sampling and nonsampling errors, please see the “2008 ACS Accuracy of the Data” document located at <www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/tech_docs/accuracy/accuracy2008.pdf>.

 

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