Estimates in this report are based on a sample that includes households from both the 1970 census-based sample design and the new 1980 census-based design. Since this overlap in the sample design does not permit the development of estimates for metropolitan, nonmetropolitan, farm, and nonfarm categories that are comparable to either the 1980 or 1970 census definitions, figures for these residence categories have been omitted. The estimates in this report for 1983 and 1984 reflect the introduction of new survey weighting procedures for the Spanish-origin population. See the section on revised survey procedures for a detailed explanation of these changes.
For the second year in a row, median family income increased faster than inflation according to results of the March 1985 Current Population Survey (CPS) conducted by the Bureau of the Census. In 1984, median family income was $26,430, 7.7 percent higher than the 1983 median of $24,550. After adjusting for the 4.3-percent increase in consumer prices between 1983 and 1984, real median family income still showed a significant gain of 3.3 percent.1 Not since 1972 has family income increased at a faster rate.
Along with the increase in real family income was a significant decline in the poverty population, reversing a trend of increases in poverty experienced in recent years. Between 1983 and 1984, the poverty population fell from 35.5 million to 33.7 million. The poverty rate in 1984 was 14.4 percent, also significantly lower than the 1983 rate of 15.3 percent. The poverty threshold for a family of four in 1984 was $10,609.
1 Changes in real income refer to comparisons after adjusting for inflation. The percentage change in prices between 1983 and 1984 was computed by dividing the annual average Consumer Price Index (CPI) for 1984 by the annual average value of the CPI for 1983. See table A-2 of appendix A for CPI's from 1947 to 1984.
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.