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Component ID: #ti460509303

Census money income is defined as income received on a regular basis (exclusive of certain money receipts such as capital gains) before payments for personal income taxes, social security, union dues, medicare deductions, etc. Therefore, money income does not reflect the fact that some families receive part of their income in the form of noncash benefits, such as food stamps, health benefits, subsidized housing, and goods produced and consumed on the farm. In addition, money income does not reflect the fact that noncash benefits are also received by some nonfarm residents which may take the form of the use of business transportation and facilities, full or partial payments by business for retirement programs, medical and educational expenses, etc.

Data users should consider these elements when comparing income levels. Moreover, users should be aware that for many different reasons there is a tendency in household surveys for respondents to underreport their income. Based on an analysis of independently derived income estimates, the Census Bureau determined that respondents report income earned from wages or salaries much better than other sources of income and that the reported wage and salary income is nearly equal to independent estimates of aggregate income.

The Census Bureau also derives alternative income measures that systematically remove or add various income components such as deducting payroll taxes and federal and state income taxes and including the value of specific noncash benefits, food stamps, school lunches, housing subsidies, health insurance programs, and return on home equity. These alternative measures are derived from information collected in Census surveys along with information from other agencies such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

Several major household surveys and programs conducted by the Census Bureau collect income data.

For highlights and links to each survey or program’s site, see the Surveys & Programs section of this subtopic site.

Component ID: #ti167805702

For more background on each survey or program, the differences between them, and how to choose the right data source, see the Guidance for Data Users section of this subtopic site.

Component ID: #ti742528184

Contact Us

For assistance, please contact the Census Call Center at 1-800-923-8282 (toll free) or visit ask.census.gov for further information.

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