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Family and Individual Money Income in the United States: 1945 and 1944

Report Number P-S 22

As part of the Sixteenth Decennial Census of Population taken in April, 1940, the Bureau of the Census made its first income inquiry, a survey of the money wages and salaries received during 1939 by all persons 14 years old and over.1 Five years later, in May, 1945, as part of its Monthly Report on the Labor Force, the Bureau made a second inquiry, covering 1944 income. This survey was based on a small sample, but the income coverage was extended to include all types of money earnings from employment and various types of income other than earnings. In April, 1946 (again as part of the Monthly Report on the Labor Force), using a slightly larger sample and essentially the same income concept, a third inquiry was conducted, covering 1945 income. This report presents some results of these latter two studies and a comparison of 1945, 1944, and 1939 wage and salary data.

Cautions to be noted in using the data.–Because of differences in the definitions of income and the income-receiving unit, as well as differences in the universe to which the information pertains and in the sources of the data, the figures of these studies are not directly comparable with those derived from other sources. This point is discussed more fully in the section entitled "Comparability of census data with other income data." In addition, inasmuch as the Census inquiries covered only money income, and nonmoney income is an important part of farm receipts, the data for farm units should not be compared with those for nonfarm units unless this difference ls taken into consideration.

1 See particularly Sixteenth Census Reports on Population, Families: Size of Family and Age of Head; Families: Family Wage or Salary Income in 1939; The Labor Force (Sample Statistics): Wage or Salary Income in 1939; and Families: Income and Rent, Washington, 1943. Although wage and salary income information was obtained from a complete enumeration of the population, all the family and many of the individual tables published were based on samples, for the most part 5-percent samples. The 1939 inquiry was restricted to two income questions, asked with respect to individuals: (1) The amount of money wages and salaries received in 1939 and (2) whether income amounting to $50 or more was received in 1939 from sources other than money wages or salaries.

A Note on Language

Census statistics date back to 1790 and reflect the growth and change of the United States. Past census reports contain some terms that today’s readers may consider obsolete and inappropriate. As part of our goal to be open and transparent with the public, we are improving access to all Census Bureau original publications and statistics, which serve as a guide to the nation's history.


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