This report presents detailed social and economic statistics for the population of the United States below the poverty level in 1981 based on the March 1982 Current Population Survey (CPS). Poverty data are cross-classified by such characteristics as race, family relationship, type of residence, education, work experience, and type of income received. The estimates shown in this report for 1981 are based on a poverty definition that differs slightly from the definition used in earlier years. All comparisons in this text of data for 1980 and 1981 are made using the modified definition. See the section, "Changes in the Definition of Poverty" for further details.
The average poverty threshold for a family of four persons was $9,287 in 1981, about 10.4 percent higher than the comparable 1980 figure of $8,414. The poverty thresholds are updated every year to reflect changes in the annual average Consumer Price Index. (See appendix A for an explanation of the poverty definition.) In this text, the terms "poor" and "below the poverty level" are used interchangeably.
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.