In processing the data collected in the March 1976 Current Population Survey, the Bureau of the Census utilized a new computer processing system designed to take maximum advantage of the Bureau's expanded computer capabilities. The revised system also incorporated many improvements in the procedures used to process the data. A detailed discussion of these improvements and the subsequent revisions to the 1974 income data (for comparability with 1975 data) is provided in a later section, entitled "Revised 1974 Money Income Statistics."
The median money income of households in the United States rose to $11,800 in 1975, an increase of about 5 percent over the revised 1974 median of $11,200. However, this increase was eroded by rising prices which resulted in a net loss in real purchasing power. After adjusting for the 9 percent rise in prices between 1974 and 1975,1 the 1975 median in terms of constant dollars decreased by about 3 percent below the revised 1974 median.
The decline in real median household income reflected the continued sluggishness in the economy, as evidenced by a decline of 2 percent in the real Gross National Product between 1974 and 1975.2 During the same period, the average annual unemployment rate for the nation increased from 5.6 percent in 1974 to 8.5 percent in 1975.3 The rise in the unemployment rate was accompanied by an increase in the number of persons who exhausted their unemployment benefits, from about 2.0 million in 1974 to 4.3 million in 1975.4
Aggregate household money income increased by 7.7 percent between 1974 and 1975 resulting from a 2.4 percent increase in the number of households (1.7 million additional households) and a 5.2 percent increase in the average (mean) household money income.
1 The percentage increase in prices between 1974 and 1975 is computed by dividing the annual average Consumer Price Index (CPI) for 1975 by the annual average value of the CPI for 1974.
2 U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Survey of Current Business, Volume 56, Number 7, July 1976, p. 1.
3 U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment and Earnings, Volume 23, Number 1, July 1976, p. 19.
4 Data were obtained from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, Office of Administration and Management.
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.