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Income, Earnings, and Poverty Data From the 2006 American Community Survey

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Report Number ACS-08


This report presents data on income, earnings, and poverty based on the 2006 American Community Survey (ACS), with some comparisons to 2005 data. (A description of the ACS, which provides information on the country’s economic well-being, is provided in the text box “What Is the American Community Survey?”) This report uses the data collected in the ACS to produce estimates of detailed socioeconomic characteristics for the United States, states, and lower levels of geography.1

The 2006 ACS represents the second year of the survey’s full implementation, and this report is the first to make comparisons over the 2005-2006 time period.2 Additional historical trend data on state median household income and poverty from the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC) are available on the Internet.3

The ACS also included group quarters in the sample for the first time in 2006. This change in sample limits the appropriate comparisons for 2005 to 2006. (See the text box “How Does the Inclusion of Group Quarters Affect ACS Data?”)

The U.S. Census Bureau also reports income, earnings, and poverty data based on the CPS ASEC. Following the standard specified by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in Statistical Policy Directive 14, the Census Bureau computes official national poverty rates using the CPS ASEC and reports that data in the publication Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2006.

The Census Bureau also produces annual estimates of median household income and poverty for states, as well as for counties and school districts, based on models using current surveys, administrative records, and personal income data published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The model-based estimates produce smaller variances than the CPS ASEC estimates but are released later due to lags in the availability of administrative records. Estimates for 2004 are available on the Internet at <www.census.gov/programs-surveys/saipe.html>. Estimates for 2005 will be available in December 2007.

This report has three main sections: household income, earnings of men and women, and poverty. The income and poverty estimates in this report are based solely on money income received (exclusive of certain money receipts such as capital gains) before deductions are made for items such as personal income taxes, social security, union dues, and Medicare. Money income does not include the value of noncash benefits such as food stamps; health benefits; subsidized housing; payments by employers for retirement programs, medical, and educational expenses; and goods produced and consumed on the farm.

1 The text of this report discusses data for the United States, including the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Data for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, collected with the Puerto Rico Community Survey first introduced in 2005, are shown in Tables 2, 5, 6, 9, and 12 and Figures 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 9.
2 From 2000 to 2004, the ACS was in the demonstration phase, which consisted of a sample of approximately 800,000 addresses per year and produced estimates for the United States, states, and essentially all places, counties, and metropolitan areas with at least 250,000 people.
3 See <www.census.gov/topics/income-poverty.html>.


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