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Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013

Report Number P60-249
Carmen DeNavas-Walt and Bernadette D. Proctor
Component ID: #ti262215131

Introduction

This report presents data on income and poverty coverage in the United States based on information collected in the 2014 and earlier Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplements (CPS ASEC) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Summary of findings:

  • Real median household income in 2013 was not statistically different from the 2012 median income.1
  • The official poverty rate decreased between 2012 and 2013, while the number in poverty in 2013 was not statistically different from 2012.

For most groups, the 2013 income estimates were not statistically different from 2012 estimates. There were a few exceptions. Real median household income increased for Hispanic households, households maintained by a noncitizen, and households maintained by a householder aged 15 to 24 or aged 65 and older. The 2013 poverty rates decreased for all people and for these groups: Hispanics, males and females, children under age 18, the foreign born, people outside metropolitan statistical areas, all families, and married-couple families.

This report contains two main sections—one focuses on income and the other on poverty. Each section presents estimates by characteristics such as race, Hispanic origin, nativity, and region.2 Other topics, such as earnings and family poverty rates are included only in the relevant section.

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1 “Real” refers to income after adjusting for inflation. All income values are adjusted to reflect 2013 dollars. The adjustment is based on percentage changes in prices between 2013 and earlier years and is computed by dividing the annual average Consumer Price Index Research Series (CPI-U-RS) for 2013 by the annual average for earlier years. The CPI-U-RS values for 1947 to 2013 are available in Appendix A and on the Internet at <www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/incpovhlth/2013/CPI-U-RS-Index-2013.pdf>. Consumer prices between 2012 and 2013 increased by 1.5 percent.

2 Federal surveys give respondents the option of reporting more than one race. Therefore, two basic ways of defining a race group are possible. A group such as Asian may be defined as those who reported Asian and no other race (the race-alone or single-race concept) or as those who reported Asian regardless of whether they also reported another race (the race-alone-or-in-combination concept). The body of this report (text, figures, and tables) shows data using the first approach (race alone). The appendix tables show data using both approaches. Use of the single-race population does not imply that it is the preferred method of presenting or analyzing data. The Census Bureau uses a variety of approaches.

In this report, the terms “White, not Hispanic” and “non-Hispanic White” are used interchangeably and refer to people who are not Hispanic and who reported White and no other race. The Census Bureau uses non-Hispanic Whites as the comparison group for other race groups and Hispanics.

Since Hispanics may be any race, data in this report for Hispanics overlap with data for race groups. Being Hispanic was reported by 14.5 percent of White householders who reported only one race, 5.3 percent of Black householders who reported only one race, and 1.8 percent of Asian householders who reported only one race.

The small sample size of the Asian population and the fact that the CPS does not use separate population controls for weighting the Asian sample to national totals contribute to the large variances surrounding estimates for this group. As a result, we are unable to detect statistically significant differences between some estimates for the Asian population. The American Community Survey (ACS), based on a much larger sample size of the population, is a better source for estimating and identifying changes for small subgroups of the population.

The householder is the person (or one of the people) in whose name the home is owned or rented and the person to whom the relationship of other household members is recorded. If a married couple owns the home jointly, either the husband or the wife may be listed as the householder. Since only one person in each household is designated as the householder, the number of householders is equal to the number of households. This report uses the characteristics of the householder to describe the household.

Data users should exercise caution when interpreting aggregate results for the Hispanic population or for race groups because these populations consist of many distinct groups that differ in socioeconomic characteristics, culture, and recent immigration status. Data were first collected for Hispanics in 1972 and for Asians and Pacific Islanders in 1987. For further information, see <www.census.gov/cps>.

Tables

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