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Income of Families and Persons in the United States: 1956

Report Number P60-27

Average (median) family income in the United States was still rising in 1956, according to estimates, released today by the Bureau of the Census, Department of Commerce. The average income of all families was estimated at $4,800, or about 8 percent higher than in 1955. This increase probably represented a significant over-the-year gain in purchasing power for the average family since prices rose only slightly during this period.1

Of the Nation's 43 million families, about 3 1/2 million, or about 8 percent, received incomes of $10,000 or more, while an additional 17 million, or about two-fifths, had incomes ranging between $5,000 and $10,000. At the other end of the income scale, about 7 million, or one-sixth, had incomes under $2,000. The remaining 16 million families were in the $2,000-to-$5,000 bracket. The distribution of families (groups of two or more related persons) by their income in 1956 is shown in table A.

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1 The Consumer Price Index of the Department of Labor averaged 114.5 in 1955 and 116.2 in 1956.

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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