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Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014

Report Number P60-252
Carmen DeNavas-Walt, Bernadette D. Proctor
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Introduction

This report presents data on income, earnings, income inequality, and poverty in the United States based on information collected in the 2015 and earlier Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplements (CPS ASEC) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.   The 2015 CPS ASEC data on income and poverty are based on a redesigned questionnaire aimed at improving income reporting, increasing response rates, reducing reporting errors by taking better advantage of an automated questionnaire environment, and updating questions on retirement income and the income generated from retirement accounts and other assets.  The 2013 income and poverty estimates used in this report are based on the 2014 CPS ASEC sample of 30,000 addresses that also received the redesigned questionnaire for income. These 2013 estimates differ from those released in September 2014.  See Text Box 1 and Appendix D of the report, “Income and Poverty in the United States:  2014,” P60-252, for more information.


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Highlights

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Income:

  • Median household income was $53,657 in 2014, not statistically different in real terms from the 2013 median of $54,462. This is the third consecutive year that the annual change was not statistically significant, following two consecutive years of annual declines in median household income.
  • In 2014, real median household income was lower than in 2007, the year before the most recent recession, and the household income peak that occurred in 1999.
  • The real median income of non-Hispanic White households declined 1.7 percent between 2013 and 2014. For Black, Asian, and Hispanic origin households the 2013-2014 percentage changes in real median income were not statistically significant.
  • For the West, real median household income declined 4.6 percent; for the Northeast, Midwest, and South, the 2013-2014 changes in real median household income were not statistically significant.
  • The real median income of households maintained by a foreign-born person increased by 4.3 percent between 2013 and 2014. In contrast, the median income of households maintained by a native-born person declined 2.3 percent.

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Earnings

  • The changes in the real median earnings of men and women who worked full time, year round between 2013 and 2014 were not statistically significant (Table 1).
  • In 2014, the real median earnings of men ($50,383) and women ($39,621) who worked full time, year round were not statistically different from their respective 2013 medians. The 2014 female-to-male earnings ratio was 0.79, not statistically different from the 2013 ratio.
  • The number of men and women working full time, year round with earnings increased by 1.2 million and 1.6 million, respectively, between 2013 and 2014. (The numerical increases of 1.2 million and 1.6 million are not statistically different.)
  • There were more women full-time, year-round workers with earnings in 2014 than in 2007, the year before the most recent recession. For male full-time, year-round workers with earnings, the difference between the 2014 and 2007 estimates was not statistically significant.

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Income inequality:

  • The Gini index was 0.480 in 2014, not statistically different from 2013.
  • Since 1993, the Gini index has increased by 5.9 percent.
  • Changes in income inequality between 2013 and 2014 were not statistically significant.

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Poverty:

  • In 2014, the official poverty rate was 14.8 percent. There were 46.7 million people in poverty. Neither the poverty rate nor the number of people in poverty were statistically different from the 2013 estimates.
  • For the fourth consecutive year, the number of people in poverty at the national level was not sta­tistically different from the previ­ous year’s estimates.
  • The 2014 poverty rate was 2.3 percentage points higher than in 2007, the year before the most recent recession.
  • The 2014 poverty rates for most demographic groups examined were not statistically different from the 2013 rates. Poverty rates went up between 2013 and 2014 for only two groups: people with a bachelor’s degree or more, and married-couple families.
  • For most groups, the number of people in poverty either decreased or did not show a statistically significant change. The number of people in poverty increased for unrelated individu­als, people aged 18 to 64 with a disability, people with at least a bachelor’s degree and married-couple families.
  • The poverty rate in 2014 for chil­dren under age 18 was 21.1 per­cent. The poverty rate for people aged 18 to 64 was 13.5 percent, while the rate for people aged 65 and older was 10.0 percent. None of these poverty rates were sta­tistically different from the 2013 estimates.

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Tables

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Figures

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