U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Skip Header

Measuring 50 Years of Economic Change Using the March Current Population Survey

Report Number P60-203

While watching the television or listening to the radio, you might hear a news report stating that the latest Census Bureau figures show median household income increased by 1.9 percent between 1996 and 1997/1, or you might read in a newspaper that the poverty rate for people declined from 13.7 percent in 1996 to 13.3 percent in 1997.2 Have you ever wondered where these data come from? Who can access the data? How can people use them? For the past 50 years, researchers and analysts have used the annual income and earnings estimates based on data collected in the March Current Population Survey (CPS) to chart the effectiveness of government programs, gauge the economic well-being of the country, develop marketing strategies for businesses, and assess the impact of changing demographic patterns.


This chartbook provides a graphic overview of changes in income over the past 50 years. The first section focuses on income of people, section two looks at the income of families, the third section deals with income statistics about households, and the final section contains data on poverty.

1 See Money Income in the United States: 1997 (with Separate Data on Valuation of Noncash Benefits), Current Population Reports, Series P60-200, September 1998.
2 See Poverty in the United States: 1997, Current Population Reports, Series P60-201, September 1998.

Page Last Revised - December 16, 2021
Is this page helpful?
Thumbs Up Image Yes Thumbs Down Image No
255 characters maximum 255 characters maximum reached
Thank you for your feedback.
Comments or suggestions?


Back to Header