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Money Income in 1977 of Families and Persons in the United States

Report Number P60-118


In the 1980 census, the Bureau plans to discontinue the use of the terms "head of family" and "head of household." In this report, the term "householder" has been used in the text in place of the term "head." For technical reasons, however, the term head appears in the detailed tables. Further discussion of these changes can be found in the section, "Head versus Householder."


As indicated in the advance report, the 1977 median family income was $16,010, a 7-percent increase over the 1976 median ($14,960). However, after adjusting for the 6.5-percent increase in prices between 1976 and 1977,1 there was no statistically significant change in real median family income for that period. The median income of unrelated individuals was $5,910 in 1977, about 3 percent (or $190) higher in real terms than the 1976 median.

Although real median income for all families did not change significantly between 1976 and 1977, there were some changes for tam ii ies classified by selected characteristics of the householder. For instance, real median income of all families with a householder working year round full time increased 2 percent over the 1976 median to $20,080 in 1977.

There was very little change in real median family income by race or Spanish origin. White families had a median income of $16,740 in 1977, which represented a marginal increase (1 percent) over their 1976 median in real terms. The 1977 median income of Black families ($9,560) and Spanish families ($11,420) did not differ significantly from their respective 1976 median incomes after adjusting for inflation.

Region of residence has an impact upon both the size of the median family income and the magnitude of changes over time. The 1977 median income of families in the Northeast region ($16,800) represented a real increase of 2.5 percent over their 1976 median. This represents a recovery for the Northeast region, since it was the only region that did not experience an increase in real median family income between 1975 and 1976. In real terms, the 1977 median income of families in the North Central ($16,850) and West ($16,510) regions did not change significantly from 1976 to 1977, while there was some evidence of an increase in the South ($14,570).2

Of the 57.2 million families in the United States in March 1978, 12.8 million (22.4 percent) received incomes of $25,000 or more in 1977. There were 18.1 million families (31.7 percent) with incomes between $15,000 and $25,000, 10.6 million families (18.4 percent) with incomes between $10,000 and $15,000, 10.4 million (18.1 percent) with incomes between $5,000 and $10,000, and 5.3 million families (9.3 percent) with incomes below $5,000.

1 The percentage increase in prices between 1976 and 1977 is computed by dividing the annual average Consumer Price Index (CPI) for 1977 by the annual average value of the CPI for 1976.
2 At the 95-percent confidence level, the percent changes in real median family income in the four regions were not s1gn1f1cantly different from one another except in the Northeast and North Central regions.

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.

Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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