This report presents detailed social and economic characteristics of the U.S. population below the poverty level in 1984 based on the March 1985 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 poverty level consists of a set of dollar thresholds which vary by family size and composition. The average poverty threshold for a family of four was $10,609 in 1984, compared with $10,178 in 1983. The poverty thresholds are updated every year to reflect changes in the annual average Consumer Price Index. In this text, the terms "poor" and "below the poverty level" are used interchangeably.
Estimates in the report were developed from two sample frames: one from the 1970 census, the other from the 1980 census. 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. In addition to this consideration, the estimates in this report for 1983 and 1984 reflect the introduction of new survey weighting procedures for the Spanish-origin population and a revised method of measuring interest income.
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.