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Income

How the Census approaches the topic of income.

Overview

There are many American Community Survey tables which provide information on the income of people living in the United States. Even for releases of data collected over three or five years, income data is reported in inflation-adjusted dollars for the release year.

Most income data is reported at the household level, but there are tables which are focused on family households, as well as some which report on individual income. There are also some tables which are particularly applicable to understanding income inequality, including one, B19083 which provides the Gini index for a place as its only column.

Income is reported in a number of ways: as a median value, or as a series of medians for groups within a total population; as a number of people or households earning in a certain bracket; as well as a few other structures.

Income brackets

A few tables provide counts of the number of households (or in one case, individuals) in each of a series of income brackets.

Code Title
B19001 Household Income
B19037 Age of Householder by Household Income
B19101 Family Income
B19131 Family Type by Presence of Own Children by Family Income
B19201 Nonfamily Household Income
B19325 Sex by Work Experience by Income
Table also available in "collapsed" version: change "B" to "C" for table code.
Also available in racial iterations.

Median Income

Median incomes are reported by household, with subsets for only family households and also for nonfamily households. One table, B19326 reports median income for individuals by sex.

For all of these tables, income refers to income for "the last 12 months" prior to the survey response.

Code Title
B19013 Median Household Income
B19019 Median Household Income by Household Size
B19049 Median Household Income by Age of Householder
B19113 Median Family Income
B19119 Median Family Income by Family Size
B19121 Median Family Income by Number of Earners in Family
B19125 Median Family Income by Presence of Own Children
B19126 Median Family Income by Family Type by Presence of Own Children
B19202 Median Nonfamily Household Income
B19215 Median Nonfamily Household Income by Sex of Householder by Living Alone by Age of Householder
B19326 Median Income by Sex by Work Experience With Income
Also available in racial iterations.

Aggregate income

The various aggregate income tables provide the total amount of income, as well as broken down by income type, for the summary geography.

Table B19313 aggregates all income in the geography, which will produce a number somewhat higher than B19025 because it includes people who live in "group quarters."

Table B19301, "Per Capita income", is simply the value for B19313 "Aggregate Income" divided by the total population estimate for the summary geography. This statistic is more or less the 'average' income. Note the potential for misunderstanding: A) the aggregate income is divided among all people, not only those who actually had income, and B) as with any average, outliers (very big earners) can have a disproportionate effect on resulting figure.

For all of these tables, income refers to income for "the last 12 months" prior to the survey response.

Code Title
B19025 Aggregate Household Income
B19050 Aggregate Household Income by Age of Householder
B19061 Aggregate Earnings for Households
B19062 Aggregate Wage or Salary Income for Households
B19063 Aggregate Self-employment Income for Households
B19064 Aggregate Interest, Dividends, or Net Rental Income for Households
B19065 Aggregate Social Security Income for Households
B19066 Aggregate Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for Households
B19067 Aggregate Public Assistance Income for Households
B19069 Aggregate Retirement Income for Households
B19070 Aggregate Other Types of Income for Households
B19082 Shares of Aggregate Household Income by Quintile
B19127 Aggregate Family Income
B19128 Aggregate Family Income by Family Type by Presence of Own Children
B19129 Aggregate Family Income by Number of Workers in Family
B19130 Aggregate Family Income by Family Type by Age of Householder
B19214 Aggregate Nonfamily Household Income
B19216 Aggregate Nonfamily Household Income by Sex of Householder by Living Alone by Age of Householder
B19313 Aggregate Income
Also available in racial iterations.

Types of income

While people often think of income as salary, or wages, the Census Bureau includes several components of income, as can be seen in the sample questions on this page. Specifically, total income is the sum of income from these sources:

  • Earnings, which includes:
    • Wage or Salary Income
    • Self-employment Income
  • Interest, Dividends, or Net Rental Income
  • Social Security Income
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Public Assistance Income
  • Retirement Income
  • Other Types of Income

For these eight types of income, as well as "Earnings" (the combination of wages and self-employment income), the ACS includes tables which report the estimated number of households who had any of that type of income, as well as tables which report the aggregate dollar amount of that kind of income for a geography.

Code Title
B19051 Earnings for Households
B19052 Wage or Salary Income for Households
B19053 Self-employment Income for Households
B19054 Interest, Dividends, or Net Rental Income for Households
B19055 Social Security Income for Households
B19056 Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for Households
B19057 Public Assistance Income for Households
B19058 Public Assistance Income or Food Stamps/SNAP for Households
B19059 Retirement Income for Households
B19060 Other Types of Income for Households
B19061 Aggregate Earnings for Households
B19062 Aggregate Wage or Salary Income for Households
B19063 Aggregate Self-employment Income for Households
B19064 Aggregate Interest, Dividends, or Net Rental Income for Households
B19065 Aggregate Social Security Income for Households
B19066 Aggregate Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for Households
B19067 Aggregate Public Assistance Income for Households
B19069 Aggregate Retirement Income for Households
B19070 Aggregate Other Types of Income for Households

Income distribution and Inequality

A few tables in the American Community Survey can be used to understand how income is distributed in given geographies. Two of these tables divide the population of an area into five "quintiles," each with approximately the same number of households in it. For households in those quintiles, you can find the highest income for each quintile, the mean (average) income for each quintile, and the share (percentage) of total income taken in by each quintile.

There is also a table reporting the Gini index for each geography, which summarizes the income distribution in that place. The Gini index is a number between 0 and 1, where lower numbers reflect more equality, and higher numbers indicate greater inequality. You can learn more about the Gini index on this page from the Census Bureau

Code Title
B19080 Household Income Quintile Upper Limits
B19081 Mean Household Income of Quintiles
B19082 Shares of Aggregate Household Income by Quintile
B19083 Gini Index of Income Inequality

Family income

A number of tables provide insight into family income, and some related tables account for nonfamily households. Some, but not all, of the tables in the list below also appear in lists above.

Code Title
B19101 Family Income
B19113 Median Family Income
B19119 Median Family Income by Family Size
B19121 Median Family Income by Number of Earners in Family
B19122 Number of Earners in Family
B19123 Family Size by Cash Public Assistance Income or Households Receiving Food Stamps/SNAP Benefits
B19125 Median Family Income by Presence of Own Children
B19126 Median Family Income by Family Type by Presence of Own Children
B19127 Aggregate Family Income
B19128 Aggregate Family Income by Family Type by Presence of Own Children
B19129 Aggregate Family Income by Number of Workers in Family
B19130 Aggregate Family Income by Family Type by Age of Householder
B19131 Family Type by Presence of Own Children by Family Income
B19201 Nonfamily Household Income
B19202 Median Nonfamily Household Income
B19214 Aggregate Nonfamily Household Income
B19215 Median Nonfamily Household Income by Sex of Householder by Living Alone by Age of Householder
B19216 Aggregate Nonfamily Household Income by Sex of Householder by Living Alone by Age of Householder
Table also available in "collapsed" version: change "B" to "C" for table code.
Also available in racial iterations.