Poverty in the United States

Chapter 1
Poverty in the United States

THE FEDERAL DEFINITION OF POVERTY

The federal government began measuring poverty in 1959. During the 1960s President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a national war on poverty. Researchers realized that few statistical tools were available to measure the number of Americans who continued to live in poverty in one of the most affluent nations in the world. To fight this "war," it had to be determined who was poor and why.

During the early 1960s Mollie Orshansky of the Social Security Administration suggested that the poverty income level be defined as the income sufficient to purchase a minimally adequate amount of goods and services. The necessary data for defining and pricing a full market basket of goods was not available then, nor is it available now. Orshansky noted, however, that in 1955 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) had published the Household Food Consumption Survey, which showed that the average family of three or more people spent approximately one-third of its after-tax income on food. She multiplied the USDA's 1961 economy food plan (a no-frills food basket meeting the then-recommended dietary allowances) by three.

Basically, this defined a poor family as any family or person whose after-tax income was not sufficient to purchase a minimally adequate diet if one-third of the income was spent on food. Differences were allowed for size of family, gender of the head of the household, and whether it was a farm or nonfarm family. The threshold (the level at which poverty begins) for a farm family was set at 70% of a nonfarm household. (The difference between farm and nonfarm households was eliminated in 1982.)

The poverty guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are based on the poverty thresholds as established by the U.S. Bureau of the Census. The poverty thresholds are updated each year to reflect inflation. People with incomes below the applicable threshold are classified as living below the poverty level.

The poverty guidelines vary by family size and composition. In 2007 a family of four earning $20,000 or less annually was considered impoverished. (See Table 1.1.) A person living alone who earned less than $9,800 was considered poor, as was a family of eight members making less than $33,600. The poverty level is considerably higher in Alaska and Hawaii, where the cost of living is higher than in the contiguous forty-eight states and the District of Columbia.

The poverty guidelines set by the HHS are important because various government agencies use them as the basis for eligibility to key assistance programs. The HHS uses the poverty guidelines to determine Community Services Block Grants, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Block Grants, and Head Start allotments. The guidelines are also the basis for funding the USDA's Food Stamp Program, National School Lunch Program, and Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children. The U.S. Department of Labor uses the guidelines to determine funding for the Job Corps and other employment and training programs under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. Some state and local governments choose to use the federal poverty guidelines for some of their own programs, such as state health insurance programs and financial guidelines for child support enforcement.

THE HISTORICAL EFFORT TO REDUCE POVERTY

Since the late 1950s Americans have seen both successes and failures in the battle against poverty. For the total population in 1959, 22.4%, or 39.5 million people, lived below the poverty level. (See Table 1.2.) After an initial decline through the 1960s and 1970s, the poverty rate began to increase during the early 1980s, coinciding with a downturn in household and family incomes for all Americans. The poverty rate rose steadily until it reached an eighteen-year high of 15.2% in 1983, a year during which the country was climbing out of a serious economic recession. The percentage of Americans living in poverty then began dropping, falling to 12.8% in 1989. After that, however, the percentage increased again, reaching 15.1% in 1993. It then dropped to 11.3% in 2000; however, because the nation's economy slowed, the poverty rate rose again to 12.7% in 2004, and then dropped slightly in 2005. Figure 1.1 provides a graphic representation of the number of poor people and the poverty rates between 1959 and 2005.

TABLE 1.1
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) poverty guidelines, 2007
[For all states except Alaska and Hawaii and for the District of Columbia]
Size of family unit 100 percent of poverty 110 percent of poverty 125 percent of poverty 150 percent of poverty 175 percent of poverty 185 percent of poverty 200 percent of poverty
Notes: For family units with more than 8 members, add $3,400 for each additional person at 100% of poverty, $3,740 at 110%, $4,250 at 125%, $5,100 at 150%, $5,950 at 175%, $6,290 at 185% and $6,800 at 200% of poverty. For optional use in federal fiscal year 2006 and mandatory use in federal fiscal year 2007.
Source: "2007 HHS Poverty Guidelines," U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, National Center for Appropriate Technology, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Clearinghouse, September 6, 2006, http://www.sustainable.doe.gov/profiles/povertytables/FY2007/popstate.htm (accessed January 23, 2007)
1 $9,800 $10,780 $12,250 $14,700 $17,150 $18,130 $19,600
2 $13,200 $14,520 $16,500 $19,800 $23,100 $24,420 $26,400
3 $16,600 $18,260 $20,750 $24,900 $29,050 $30,710 $33,200
4 $20,000 $22,000 $25,000 $30,000 $35,000 $37,000 $40,000
5 $23,400 $25,740 $29,250 $35,100 $40,950 $43,290 $46,800
6 $26,800 $29,480 $33,500 $40,200 $46,900 $49,580 $53,600
7 $30,200 $33,220 $37,750 $45,300 $52,850 $55,870 $60,400
8 $33,600 $36,960 $42,000 $50,400 $58,800 $62,160 $67,200

Analysts believe the overall decline in poverty is because of both the growth in the economy and the success of some of the antipoverty programs instituted in the late 1960s; yet not all demographic subcategories have experienced the same level of change. For example, the poverty rate of those aged sixty-five and older has dramatically improved from 35.2% in 1959 to 10.1% in 2005. For related children under eighteen years of age in African-American families, however, the improvement from 65.6% in 1959 to 33.2% in 2005 shows that antipoverty programs still have not reached many people in need. Table 1.3 shows the differences in the nation's historical poverty for people by categories of age, race, and ethnic background.

RATIO OF INCOME TO POVERTY LEVELS

For purposes of analysis, the Census Bureau uses income-to-poverty ratios that are calculated by dividing income by the respective poverty threshold for each family size. The resulting number is then tabulated on a scale that includes three categories: poor, near-poor, and nonpoor. Poor people have a poverty ratio below 1. People above the poverty level are divided into two groups: the near-poor and the nonpoor. The near-poor have a poverty ratio between 1 and 1.24 (100% to 124% of the poverty level), and the nonpoor have an income-to-poverty ratio of 1.25 (125% of the poverty level) and above. In 2005, 12.6% of the total population had income-to-poverty ratios under 1; in other words, nearly thirty-seven million people in the United States had incomes below the poverty threshold, and 16.8% were classified as poor or near-poor.

HOW ACCURATE IS THE POVERTY LEVEL?

Almost every year since the Census Bureau first defined the poverty level observers have been concerned about its accuracy. Since the early 1960s, when Orshansky defined the estimated poverty level based on a family's food budget, living patterns have changed and food costs have become a smaller percentage of family spending. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports in the news release "Consumer Expenditures in 2005" (November 8, 2006, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cesan.pdf) that the average family spent $5,931, or 12.8% of its total expenditures, on food per year. By contrast, housing accounted for $15,167, or 32.7% of family spending. The proportion of family income spent on food is not the only change in family budgets since the 1950s. In families headed by two parents, both parents are far more likely to be working than they were in the 1950s. There is also a much greater likelihood that a single parent, usually the mother, will be heading the family. Child care costs, which were of little concern during the 1950s, have become a major issue for working mothers and single parents in the twenty-first century.

Critics of the current poverty calculations tend to believe that the official poverty level has been set too low, because they are based on a fifty-year-old concept of American life that does not reflect today's economic and social realities. Even among those who feel the poverty level should be changed to more accurately reflect how many Americans have trouble paying for basic expenses there is disagreement about what would make a more accurate benchmark. Should the amount spent on food be multiplied by a factor of eight instead of three? Should the poverty level be based on housing or other factors? What about geographical differences in the cost of living?

TABLE 1.2
Overall poverty status, 19592005
[Numbers in thousands. People as of March of the following year.]
Year All people People in families
All families
Total Below poverty level Total Below poverty level
Number Percent Number Percent
Source: Adapted from "Table 2. Poverty Status of People by Family Relationship, Race, and Hispanic Origin, 1959 to 2005," in Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplements, U.S. Census Bureau, September 6, 2006, http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/histpov/hstpov2.html (accessed December 1, 2006)
All races
2005 293,135 36,950 12.6 242,389 26,068 10.8
2004 290,617 37,040 12.7 240,754 26,544 11.0
2003 287,699 35,861 12.5 238,903 25,684 10.8
2002 285,317 34,570 12.1 236,921 24,534 10.4
2001 281,475 32,907 11.7 233,911 23,215 9.9
2000 278,944 31,581 11.3 231,909 22,347 9.6
1999 276,208 32,791 11.9 230,789 23,830 10.3
1998 271,059 34,476 12.7 227,229 25,370 11.2
1997 268,480 35,574 13.3 225,369 26,217 11.6
1996 266,218 36,529 13.7 223,955 27,376 12.2
1995 263,733 36,425 13.8 222,792 27,501 12.3
1994 261,616 38,059 14.5 221,430 28,985 13.1
1993 259,278 39,265 15.1 219,489 29,927 13.6
1992 256,549 38,014 14.8 217,936 28,961 13.3
1991 251,192 35,708 14.2 212,723 27,143 12.8
1990 248,644 33,585 13.5 210,967 25,232 12.0
1989 245,992 31,528 12.8 209,515 24,066 11.5
1988 243,530 31,745 13.0 208,056 24,048 11.6
1987 240,982 32,221 13.4 206,877 24,725 12.0
1986 238,554 32,370 13.6 205,459 24,754 12.0
1985 236,594 33,064 14.0 203,963 25,729 12.6
1984 233,816 33,700 14.4 202,288 26,458 13.1
1983 231,700 35,303 15.2 201,338 27,933 13.9
1982 229,412 34,398 15.0 200,385 27,349 13.6
1981 227,157 31,822 14.0 198,541 24,850 12.5
1980 225,027 29,272 13.0 196,963 22,601 11.5
1979 222,903 26,072 11.7 195,860 19,964 10.2
1978 215,656 24,497 11.4 191,071 19,062 10.0
1977 213,867 24,720 11.6 190,757 19,505 10.2
1976 212,303 24,975 11.8 190,844 19,632 10.3
1975 210,864 25,877 12.3 190,630 20,789 10.9
1974 209,362 23,370 11.2 190,436 18,817 9.9
1973 207,621 22,973 11.1 189,361 18,299 9.7
1972 206,004 24,460 11.9 189,193 19,577 10.3
1971 204,554 25,559 12.5 188,242 20,405 10.8
1970 202,183 25,420 12.6 186,692 20,330 10.9
1969 199,517 24,147 12.1 184,891 19,175 10.4
1968 197,628 25,389 12.8 183,825 20,695 11.3
1967 195,672 27,769 14.2 182,558 22,771 12.5
1966 193,388 28,510 14.7 181,117 23,809 13.1
1965 191,413 33,185 17.3 179,281 28,358 15.8
1964 189,710 36,055 19.0 177,653 30,912 17.4
1963 187,258 36,436 19.5 176,076 31,498 17.9
1962 184,276 38,625 21.0 173,263 33,623 19.4
1961 181,277 39,628 21.9 170,131 34,509 20.3
1960 179,503 39,851 22.2 168,615 34,925 20.7
1959 176,557 39,490 22.4 165,858 34,562 20.8

Some are concerned because the poverty threshold is different for elderly and nonelderly Americans. When the poverty threshold was first established, it was thought that older people did not need as much food. Therefore, the value of their basic food needs was lower. Consequently, when this figure was multiplied by three to determine the poverty rate, it was naturally lower than the rate for non-elderly people. (The U.S. government, however, uses the poverty rate for nonelderly Americans when determining the eligibility for welfare services for all people, including the elderly.) Critics point out that while the elderly might eat less than younger people, they have greater needs in other areas, which are not considered when their food needs are simply multiplied by three. Probably the most notable difference between the needs of the elderly and nonelderly is in the area of health care. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, in Consumer Expenditures in 2004 (April 2006, http://www.bls.gov/cex/csxann04.pdf), finds that while the total population interviewed spent $2,574, or 4.7% of their income, on health care, those over sixty-five years of age spent $3,899, or 11.1% of their income, on health care. These critics feel that the poverty level should be the same for everyone, no matter what their age.

In Measuring Poverty: A New Approach (1995), the National Research Council's Panel on Poverty and Family Assistance raises several important issues regarding poverty thresholds or measurement of need. It recommends that new thresholds be developed using consumer expenditure data to represent a budget for basic needs: food, clothing, shelter (including utilities), and a small allowance for miscellaneous needs. This budget would be adjusted to reflect the needs of different family types and geographic differences in costs.

In June 2004 the Committee on National Statistics met to research alternative methods for measuring poverty, as recommended in 1995. The panel recommended adopting a new poverty measure, taking into account the current dollar value of food, clothing, shelter, and utilities, as well as taxes, the value of food stamps and other near-cash benefits, and child support payments. In addition, the panel workshop recommended adjusting the new poverty measure based not only on inflation but also on data on yearly consumer expenditures. John Iceland, the rapporteur for the committee, notes in "The CNSTAT Workshop on Experimental Poverty Measures, June 2004" (Focus, Spring 2005), "The reasoning here is that CE [consumer expenditure]-based calculations will allow the thresholds to retain their social significance for longer periods of time than absolute thresholds."

INCOME AND POVERTY

How Should Income Be Defined?

Critics point out that the definition of income used to set the poverty figure is not accurate because it does not include the value of all welfare services as

TABLE 1.3
People's poverty status, by age, race, and Hispanic origin, 19592005
[Numbers in thousands. People as of March of the following year.]
Year and characteristic Under 18 years
All people Related children in families
Total Below poverty level Total Below poverty level
Number Percent Number Percent
All races
2005 73,285 12,896 17.6 72,095 12,335 17.1
2004m 73,241 13,041 17.8 72,133 12,473 17.3
2003 72,999 12,866 17.6 71,907 12,340 17.2
2002 72,696 12,133 16.7 71,619 11,646 16.3
2001 72,021 11,733 16.3 70,950 11,175 15.8
2000l 71,741 11,587 16.2 70,538 11,005 15.6
1999k 71,685 12,280 17.1 70,424 11,678 16.6
1998 71,338 13,467 18.9 70,253 12,845 18.3
1997 71,069 14,113 19.9 69,844 13,422 19.2
1996 70,650 14,463 20.5 69,411 13,764 19.8
1995 70,566 14,665 20.8 69,425 13,999 20.2
1994 70,020 15,289 21.8 68,819 14,610 21.2
1993j 69,292 15,727 22.7 68,040 14,961 22.0
1992i 68,440 15,294 22.3 67,256 14,521 21.6
1991h 65,918 14,341 21.8 64,800 13,658 21.1
1990 65,049 13,431 20.6 63,908 12,715 19.9
1989 64,144 12,590 19.6 63,225 12,001 19.0
1988 63,747 12,455 19.5 62,906 11,935 19.0
1987g 63,294 12,843 20.3 62,423 12,275 19.7
1986 62,948 12,876 20.5 62,009 12,257 19.8
1985 62,876 13,010 20.7 62,019 12,483 20.1
1984 62,447 13,420 21.5 61,681 12,929 21.0
1983f 62,334 13,911 22.3 61,578 13,427 21.8
1982 62,345 13,647 21.9 61,565 13,139 21.3
1981e 62,449 12,505 20.0 61,756 12,068 19.5
1980 62,914 11,543 18.3 62,168 11,114 17.9
1979d 63,375 10,377 16.4 62,646 9,993 16.0
1978 62,311 9,931 15.9 61,987 9,722 15.7
1977 63,137 10,288 16.2 62,823 10,028 16.0
1976 64,028 10,273 16.0 63,729 10,081 15.8
1975 65,079 11,104 17.1 64,750 10,882 16.8
1974c 66,134 10,156 15.4 65,802 9,967 15.1
1973 66,959 9,642 14.4 66,626 9,453 14.2
1972 67,930 10,284 15.1 67,592 10,082 14.9
1971b 68,816 10,551 15.3 68,474 10,344 15.1
1970 69,159 10,440 15.1 68,815 10,235 14.9
1969 69,090 9,691 14.0 68,746 9,501 13.8
1968 70,385 10,954 15.6 70,035 10,739 15.3
1967a 70,408 11,656 16.6 70,058 11,427 16.3
1966 70,218 12,389 17.6 69,869 12,146 17.4
1965 69,986 14,676 21.0 69,638 14,388 20.7
1964 69,711 16,051 23.0 69,364 15,736 22.7
1963 69,181 16,005 23.1 68,837 15,691 22.8
1962 67,722 16,963 25.0 67,385 16,630 24.7
1961 66,121 16,909 25.6 65,792 16,577 25.2
1960 65,601 17,634 26.9 65,275 17,288 26.5
1959 64,315 17,552 27.3 63,995 17,208 26.9
White, not Hispanic
2001 44,095 4,194 9.5 43,459 3,887 8.9
2000l 44,244 4,018 9.1 43,554 3,715 8.5
1999k 44,272 4,155 9.4 43,570 3,832 8.8
1998 45,355 4,822 10.6 44,670 4,458 10.0
1997 45,491 5,204 11.4 44,665 4,759 10.7
1996 45,605 5,072 11.1 44,844 4,656 10.4
1995 45,689 5,115 11.2 44,973 4,745 10.6
1994 46,668 5,823 12.5 45,874 5,404 11.8
1993j 46,096 6,255 13.6 45,322 5,819 12.8
1992I 45,590 6,017 13.2 44,833 5,558 12.4
1991h 45,236 5,918 13.1 44,506 5,497 12.4
1990 44,797 5,532 12.3 44,045 5,106 11.6
1989 44,492 5,110 11.5 43,938 4,779 10.9
1988 44,438 4,888 11.0 43,910 4,594 10.5
1987g 44,461 5,230 11.8 43,907 4,902 11.2
1986 44,664 5,789 13.0 44,041 5,388 12.2
TABLE 1.3
People's poverty status, by age, race, and Hispanic origin, 19592005 [continued]
[Numbers in thousands. People as of March of the following year.]
Year and characteristic Under 18 years
All people Related children in families
Total Below poverty level Total Below poverty level
Number Percent Number Percent
1985 44,752 5,745 12.8 44,199 5,421 12.3
1984 44,886 6,156 13.7 44,349 5,828 13.1
1983f 44,830 6,649 14.8 44,374 6,381 14.4
1982 45,531 6,566 14.4 45,001 6,229 13.8
1981e 45,950 5,946 12.9 45,440 5,639 12.4
1980 46,578 5,510 11.8 45,989 5,174 11.3
1979d 46,967 4,730 10.1 46,448 4,476 9.6
1978 46,819 4,506 9.6 46,606 4,383 9.4
1977 47,689 4,714 9.9 47,459 4,582 9.7
1976 48,824 4,799 9.8 48,601 4,664 9.6
1975 49,670 5,342 10.8 49,421 5,185 10.5
1974c 50,759 4,820 9.5 50,520 4,697 9.3
Black alone or in combination
2005 12,159 4,074 33.5 11,975 3,972 33.2
2004m 12,190 4,059 33.3 12,012 3,962 33.0
2003 12,215 4,108 33.6 11,989 3,977 33.2
2002 12,114 3,817 31.5 11,931 3,733 31.3
Black alone
2005 11,136 3,841 34.5 10,962 3,743 34.2
2004m 11,244 3,788 33.7 11,080 3,702 33.4
2003 11,367 3,877 34.1 11,162 3,750 33.6
2002 11,275 3,645 32.3 11,111 3,570 32.1
Black
2001 11,556 3,492 30.2 11,419 3,423 30.0
2000l 11,480 3,581 31.2 11,296 3,495 30.9
1999k 11,488 3,813 33.2 11,260 3,698 32.8
1998 11,317 4,151 36.7 11,176 4,073 36.4
1997 11,367 4,225 37.2 11,193 4,116 36.8
1996 11,338 4,519 39.9 11,155 4,411 39.5
1995 11,369 4,761 41.9 11,198 4,644 41.5
1994 11,211 4,906 43.8 11,044 4,787 43.3
1993j 11,127 5,125 46.1 10,969 5,030 45.9
1992I 10,956 5,106 46.6 10,823 5,015 46.3
1991h 10,350 4,755 45.9 10,178 4,637 45.6
1990 10,162 4,550 44.8 9,980 4,412 44.2
1989 10,012 4,375 43.7 9,847 4,257 43.2
1988 9,865 4,296 43.5 9,681 4,148 42.8
1987g 9,730 4,385 45.1 9,546 4,234 44.4
1986 9,629 4,148 43.1 9,467 4,037 42.7
1985 9,545 4,157 43.6 9,405 4,057 43.1
1984 9,480 4,413 46.6 9,356 4,320 46.2
1983f 9,417 4,398 46.7 9,245 4,273 46.2
1982 9,400 4,472 47.6 9,269 4,388 47.3
1981e 9,374 4,237 45.2 9,291 4,170 44.9
1980 9,368 3,961 42.3 9,287 3,906 42.1
1979d 9,307 3,833 41.2 9,172 3,745 40.8
1978 9,229 3,830 41.5 9,168 3,781 41.2
1977 9,296 3,888 41.8 9,253 3,850 41.6
1976 9,322 3,787 40.6 9,291 3,758 40.4
1975 9,421 3,925 41.7 9,374 3,884 41.4
1974c 9,439 3,755 39.8 9,384 3,713 39.6
1973 (NA) (NA) (NA) 9,405 3,822 40.6
1972 (NA) (NA) (NA) 9,426 4,025 42.7
1971b (NA) (NA) (NA) 9,414 3,836 40.4
1970 (NA) (NA) (NA) 9,448 3,922 41.5
1969 (NA) (NA) (NA) 9,290 3,677 39.6
1968 (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA) 4,188 43.1
1967a (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA) 4,558 47.4
1966 (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA) 4,774 50.6
1965 (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA) 5,022 65.6

income. If the value of these services was counted as income, they believe the proportion of Americans considered to be living in poverty would be lower. In the 1990s the Census Bureau developed several experimental methods of estimating income for evaluating poverty levels, but the bureau has had considerable

TABLE 1.3
People's poverty status, by age, race, and Hispanic origin, 19592005 [continued]
[Numbers in thousands. People as of March of the following year.]
Year and characteristic Under 18 years
All people Related children in families
Total Below poverty level Total Below poverty level
Number Percent Number Percent
Asian alone or in combination
2005 3,472 359 10.3 3,435 352 10.2
2004m 3,406 329 9.7 3,367 311 9.2
2003 3,316 420 12.7 3,279 406 12.4
2002 3,199 353 11.0 3,159 338 10.7
Asian alone
2005 2,871 317 11.1 2,842 312 11.0
2004m 2,854 281 9.9 2,823 265 9.4
2003 2,759 344 12.5 2,726 331 12.1
2002 2,683 315 11.7 2,648 302 11.4
Asian and Pacific Islander
2001 3,215 369 11.5 3,169 353 11.1
2000l 3,294 420 12.7 3,256 407 12.5
1999k 3,212 381 11.9 3,178 367 11.5
1998 3,137 564 18.0 3,099 542 17.5
1997 3,096 628 20.3 3,061 608 19.9
1996 2,924 571 19.5 2,899 553 19.1
1995 2,900 564 19.5 2,858 532 18.6
1994 1,739 318 18.3 1,719 308 17.9
1993j 2,061 375 18.2 2,029 358 17.6
1992I 2,218 363 16.4 2,199 352 16.0
1991h 2,056 360 17.5 2,036 348 17.1
1990 2,126 374 17.6 2,098 356 17.0
1989 1,983 392 19.8 1,945 368 18.9
1988 1,970 474 24.1 1,949 458 23.5
1987g 1,937 455 23.5 1,908 432 22.7
Hispanic (of any race)
2005 14,654 4,143 28.3 14,361 3,977 27.7
2004m 14,173 4,098 28.9 13,929 3,985 28.6
2003 13,730 4,077 29.7 13,519 3,982 29.5
2002 13,210 3,782 28.6 12,971 3,653 28.2
2001 12,763 3,570 28.0 12,539 3,433 27.4
2000l 12,399 3,522 28.4 12,115 3,342 27.6
1999k 12,188 3,693 30.3 11,912 3,561 29.9
1998 11,152 3,837 34.4 10,921 3,670 33.6
1997 10,802 3,972 36.8 10,625 3,865 36.4
1996 10,511 4,237 40.3 10,255 4,090 39.9
1995 10,213 4,080 40.0 10,011 3,938 39.3
1994 9,822 4,075 41.5 9,621 3,956 41.1
1993j 9,462 3,873 40.9 9,188 3,666 39.9
1992I 9,081 3,637 40.0 8,829 3,440 39.0
1991h 7,648 3,094 40.4 7,473 2,977 39.8
1990 7,457 2,865 38.4 7,300 2,750 37.7
1989 7,186 2,603 36.2 7,040 2,496 35.5
1988 7,003 2,631 37.6 6,908 2,576 37.3
1987g 6,792 2,670 39.3 6,692 2,606 38.9
1986 6,646 2,507 37.7 6,511 2,413 37.1
1985 6,475 2,606 40.3 6,346 2,512 39.6
1984 6,068 2,376 39.2 5,982 2,317 38.7
1983f 6,066 2,312 38.1 5,977 2,251 37.7
1982 5,527 2,181 39.5 5,436 2,117 38.9
1981e 5,369 1,925 35.9 5,291 1,874 35.4
1980 5,276 1,749 33.2 5,211 1,718 33.0
1979d 5,483 1,535 28.0 5,426 1,505 27.7
1978 5,012 1,384 27.6 4,972 1,354 27.2
1977 5,028 1,422 28.3 5,000 1,402 28.0
1976 4,771 1,443 30.2 4,736 1,424 30.1
1975 (NA) (NA) (NA) 4,896 1,619 33.1
1974c (NA) (NA) (NA) 4,939 1,414 28.6
1973 (NA) (NA) (NA) 4,910 1,364 27.8

difficulty determining the value of many of these subsidies. For example, it first tried to consider Medicare and Medicaid at full market value (this meant taking the total amount of money that the government spent on medical care for a particular group and then dividing it by the number of people in that group). The value was often

TABLE 1.3
People's poverty status, by age, race, and Hispanic origin, 19592005 [continued]
[Numbers in thousands. People as of March of the following year.]
Year and characteristic 18 to 64 years 65 years and over
All people Related children in families
Total Below poverty level Total Below poverty level
Number Percent Number Percent
All races
2005 184,345 20,450 11.1 35,505 3,603 10.1
2004m 182,166 20,545 11.3 35,209 3,453 9.8
2003 180,041 19,443 10.8 34,659 3,552 10.2
2002 178,388 18,861 10.6 34,234 3,576 10.4
2001 175,685 17,760 10.1 33,769 3,414 10.1
2000l 173,638 16,671 9.6 33,566 3,323 9.9
1999k 171,146 17,289 10.1 33,377 3,222 9.7
1998 167,327 17,623 10.5 32,394 3,386 10.5
1997 165,329 18,085 10.9 32,082 3,376 10.5
1996 163,691 18,638 11.4 31,877 3,428 10.8
1995 161,508 18,442 11.4 31,658 3,318 10.5
1994 160,329 19,107 11.9 31,267 3,663 11.7
1993j 159,208 19,781 12.4 30,779 3,755 12.2
1992I 157,680 18,793 11.9 30,430 3,928 12.9
1991h 154,684 17,586 11.4 30,590 3,781 12.4
1990 153,502 16,496 10.7 30,093 3,658 12.2
1989 152,282 15,575 10.2 29,566 3,363 11.4
1988 150,761 15,809 10.5 29,022 3,481 12.0
1987g 149,201 15,815 10.6 28,487 3,563 12.5
1986 147,631 16,017 10.8 27,975 3,477 12.4
1985 146,396 16,598 11.3 27,322 3,456 12.6
1984 144,551 16,952 11.7 26,818 3,330 12.4
1983f 143,052 17,767 12.4 26,313 3,625 13.8
1982 141,328 17,000 12.0 25,738 3,751 14.6
1981e 139,477 15,464 11.1 25,231 3,853 15.3
1980 137,428 13,858 10.1 24,686 3,871 15.7
1979d 135,333 12,014 8.9 24,194 3,682 15.2
1978 130,169 11,332 8.7 23,175 3,233 14.0
1977 128,262 11,316 8.8 22,468 3,177 14.1
1976 126,175 11,389 9.0 22,100 3,313 15.0
1975 124,122 11,456 9.2 21,662 3,317 15.3
1974c 122,101 10,132 8.3 21,127 3,085 14.6
1973 120,060 9,977 8.3 20,602 3,354 16.3
1972 117,957 10,438 8.8 20,117 3,738 18.6
1971b 115,911 10,735 9.3 19,827 4,273 21.6
1970 113,554 10,187 9.0 19,470 4,793 24.6
1969 111,528 9,669 8.7 18,899 4,787 25.3
1968 108,684 9,803 9.0 18,559 4,632 25.0
1967a 107,024 10,725 10.0 18,240 5,388 29.5
1966 105,241 11,007 10.5 17,929 5,114 28.5
1965 (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA)
1964 (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA)
1963 (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA)
1962 (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA)
1961 (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA)
1960 (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA)
1959 96,685 16,457 17.0 15,557 5,481 35.2
White not Hispanic
2001 122,470 8,811 7.2 27,973 2,266 8.1
2000l 121,499 8,130 6.7 27,948 2,218 7.9
1999k 120,341 8,462 7.0 27,952 2,118 7.6
1998 120,282 8,760 7.3 27,118 2,217 8.2
1997 119,373 9,088 7.6 26,995 2,200 8.1
1996 118,822 9,074 7.6 27,033 2,316 8.6
1995 118,228 8,908 7.5 27,034 2,243 8.3
1994 119,192 9,732 8.2 26,684 2,556 9.6
1993j 118,475 9,964 8.4 26,272 2,663 10.1
1992I 117,386 9,461 8.1 26,025 2,724 10.5
1991h 117,672 9,244 7.9 26,208 2,580 9.8

greater than the actual earnings of the low-income family, which meant that, although the family's total earnings may not have been enough to cover food and housing, adding the market value of Medicare or Medicaid to its earnings put the family above the poverty threshold.

TABLE 1.3
People's poverty status, by age, race, and Hispanic origin, 19592005 [continued]
[Numbers in thousands. People as of March of the following year.]
Year and characteristic 18 to 64 years 65 years and over
All people Related children in families
Total Below poverty level Total Below poverty level
Number Percent Number Percent
1990 117,477 8,619 7.3 25,854 2,471 9.6
1989 116,983 8,154 7.0 25,504 2,335 9.2
1988 116,479 8,293 7.1 25,044 2,384 9.5
1987g 115,721 8,327 7.2 24,754 2,472 10.0
1986 115,157 8,963 7.8 24,298 2,492 10.3
1985 114,969 9,608 8.4 23,734 2,486 10.5
1984 114,180 9,734 8.5 23,402 2,410 10.3
1983f 113,570 10,279 9.1 22,992 2,610 11.4
1982 113,717 10,082 8.9 22,655 2,714 12.0
1981e 112,722 9,207 8.2 22,237 2,834 12.7
1980 111,460 7,990 7.2 21,760 2,865 13.2
1979d 110,509 6,930 6.3 21,339 2,759 12.9
1978 107,481 6,837 6.4 20,431 2,412 11.8
1977 106,063 6,772 6.4 19,812 2,316 11.7
1976 104,846 6,720 6.4 19,565 2,506 12.8
1975 103,496 7,039 6.8 19,251 2,503 13.0
1974c 101,894 6,051 5.9 18,810 2,346 12.5
Black alone or in combination
2005 23,338 4,735 20.3 3,053 708 23.2
2004m 22,842 4,638 20.3 3,005 714 23.8
2003 22,355 4,313 19.3 2,933 688 23.5
2002 22,170 4,376 19.7 2,922 691 23.6
Black alone
2005 22,659 4,627 20.4 3,007 701 23.3
2004m 22,226 4,521 20.3 2,956 705 23.8
2003 21,746 4,224 19.4 2,876 680 23.7
2002 21,547 4,277 19.9 2,856 680 23.8
Black
2001 21,462 4,018 18.7 2,853 626 21.9
2000l 21,160 3,794 17.9 2,785 607 21.8
1999k 21,518 4,000 18.6 2,750 628 22.8
1998 20,837 4,222 20.3 2,723 718 26.4
1997 20,400 4,191 20.5 2,691 700 26.0
1996 20,155 4,515 22.4 2,616 661 25.3
1995 19,892 4,483 22.5 2,478 629 25.4
1994 19,585 4,590 23.4 2,557 700 27.4
1993j 19,272 5,049 26.2 2,510 702 28.0
1992I 18,952 4,884 25.8 2,504 838 33.5
1991h 18,355 4,607 25.1 2,606 880 33.8
1990 18,097 4,427 24.5 2,547 860 33.8
1989 17,833 4,164 23.3 2,487 763 30.7
1988 17,548 4,275 24.4 2,436 785 32.2
1987g 17,245 4,361 25.3 2,387 774 32.4
1986 16,911 4,113 24.3 2,331 722 31.0
1985 16,667 4,052 24.3 2,273 717 31.5
1984 16,369 4,368 26.7 2,238 710 31.7
1983f 16,065 4,694 29.2 2,197 791 36.0
1982 15,692 4,415 28.1 2,124 811 38.2
1981e 15,358 4,117 26.8 2,102 820 39.0
1980 14,987 3,835 25.6 2,054 783 38.1
1979d 14,596 3,478 23.8 2,040 740 36.2
1978 13,774 3,133 22.7 1,954 662 33.9
1977 13,483 3,137 23.3 1,930 701 36.3
1976 13,224 3,163 23.9 1,852 644 34.8
1975 12,872 2,968 23.1 1,795 652 36.3
1974c 12,539 2,836 22.6 1,721 591 34.3
1973 (NA) (NA) (NA) 1,672 620 37.1
1972 (NA) (NA) (NA) 1,603 640 39.9
1971b (NA) (NA) (NA) 1,584 623 39.3

This did not make much sense, so the Census Bureau began trying a fungible value (giving equivalent value to units) for Medicare and Medicaid. When the bureau measures a household's income, if the earners cannot cover the cost of housing and food, Medicare and Medicaid are given no value. However, if the family can cover the cost of food and shelter, the Census Bureau figures the difference between the household income and the amount needed to meet basic housing

TABLE 1.3
People's poverty status, by age, race, and Hispanic origin, 19592005 [continued]
[Numbers in thousands. People as of March of the following year.]
Year and charactersitic 18 to 64 years 65 years and over
All people Related children in families
Total Below poverty level Total Below poverty level
Number Percent Number Percent
1970 (NA) (NA) (NA) 1,422 683 48.0
1969 (NA) (NA) (NA) 1,373 689 50.2
1968 (NA) (NA) (NA) 1,374 655 47.7
1967a (NA) (NA) (NA) 1,341 715 53.3
1966 (NA) (NA) (NA) 1,311 722 55.1
1965 (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA) 711 62.5
Asian alone or in combination
2005 9,115 999 11.0 1,144 144 12.6
2004m 8,780 819 9.3 1,104 147 13.3
2003 8,510 956 11.2 1,065 152 14.2
2002 8,292 804 9.7 995 86 8.7
Asian alone
2005 8,591 941 11.0 1,118 143 12.8
2004m 8,294 774 9.3 1,083 146 13.5
2003 8,044 907 11.3 1,052 151 14.3
2002 7,881 764 9.7 977 82 8.4
Asian and Pacific Islander
2001 8,352 814 9.7 899 92 10.2
2000l 8,500 756 8.9 878 82 9.3
1999k 7,879 807 10.2 864 96 11.1
1998 6,951 698 10.0 785 97 12.4
1997 6,680 753 11.3 705 87 12.3
1996 6,484 821 12.7 647 63 9.7
1995 6,123 757 12.4 622 89 14.3
1994 4,401 589 13.4 513 67 13.0
1993j 4,871 680 14.0 503 79 15.6
1992I 5,067 568 11.2 494 53 10.8
1991h 4,582 565 12.3 555 70 12.7
1990 4,375 422 9.6 514 62 12.1
1989 4,225 512 12.1 465 34 7.4
1988 4,035 583 14.4 442 60 13.5
1987g 4,010 510 12.7 375 56 15.0
Hispanic (of any race)
2005 26,051 4,765 18.3 2,315 460 19.9
2004m 25,324 4,620 18.2 2,194 403 18.4
2003 24,490 4,568 18.7 2,080 406 19.5
2002 23,952 4,334 18.1 2,053 439 21.4
2001 22,653 4,014 17.7 1,896 413 21.8
2000l 21,734 3,844 17.7 1,822 381 20.9
1999k 20,782 3,843 18.5 1,661 340 20.5
1998 18,668 3,877 20.8 1,696 356 21.0
1997 18,217 3,951 21.7 1,617 384 23.8
1996 17,587 4,089 23.3 1,516 370 24.4
1995 16,673 4,153 24.9 1,458 342 23.5
1994 16,192 4,018 24.8 1,428 323 22.6
1993j 15,708 3,956 25.2 1,390 297 21.4
1992I 15,268 3,668 24.0 1,298 287 22.1
1991h 13,279 3,008 22.7 1,143 237 20.8
1990 12,857 2,896 22.5 1,091 245 22.5
1989 12,536 2,616 20.9 1,024 211 20.6
1988 12,056 2,501 20.7 1,005 225 22.4
1987g 11,718 2,509 21.4 885 243 27.5
1986 11,206 2,406 21.5 906 204 22.5
1985 10,685 2,411 22.6 915 219 23.9
1984 10,029 2,254 22.5 819 176 21.5
1983f 9,697 2,148 22.5 782 173 22.1
1982 8,262 1,963 23.8 596 159 26.6
1981e 8,084 1,642 20.3 568 146 25.7
1980 7,740 1,563 20.2 582 179 30.8

and food costs. It then values the health services at this difference (up to the amount of the market value of the medical benefits). Even though this is complicated, the formula is believed to give a fair value to these services. Similar problems have developed in trying to determine the value of housing subsidies, school lunches, and other benefits.

TABLE 1.3
People's poverty status, by age, race, and Hispanic origin, 19592005 [continued]
[Numbers in thousands. People as of March of the following year.]
Year and characteristic 18 to 64 years 65 years and over
All people Related children in families
Total Below poverty level Total Below poverty level
Number Percent Number Percent
NA=Not available.
aImplementation of a new March Current Population Survey (CPS) processing system.
bImplementation of 1970 census population controls.
cImplementation of a new March CPS processing system. Questionnaire expanded to ask eleven income questions.
dImplementation of 1980 census population controls. Questionnaire expanded to show 27 possible values from 51 possible sources of income.
eImplemented three technical changes to the poverty definition.
fImplementation of Hispanic population weighting controls.
gImplementation of a new March CPS processing system.
hCPS file for March 1992 (1991 data) was corrected after the release of the 1991 income and poverty reports. Weights for nine person records were omitted on the original file.
iImplementation of 1990 census population controls.
jData collection method changed from paper and pencil to computer-assisted interviewing. In addition, the March 1994 income supplement was revised to allow for the coding of different income amounts on selected questionnaire items. Limits either increased or decreased in the following categories: earnings increased to $999,999; Social Security increased to $49,999; Supplemental Security Income and public assistance increased to $24,999; Veterans' benefits increased to $99,999; child support and alimony decreased to $49,999.
kImplementation of Census 2000 based population controls.
lImplementation of Census 2000 based population controls and sample expanded by 28,000 households.
mThe 2004 data have been revised to reflect a correction to the weights in the 2005 Annual Social Economic Supplement (ASEC).
Source: Adapted from "Table 3. Poverty Status of People, by Age, Race, and Hispanic Origin: 1959 to 2005," in Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplements, U.S. Census Bureau, September 6, 2006, http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/histpov/hstpov3.html (accessed December 6, 2006)
1979d 7,314 1,232 16.8 574 154 26.8
1978 6,527 1,098 16.8 539 125 23.2
1977 6,500 1,164 17.9 518 113 21.9
1976 6,034 1,212 20.1 464 128 27.7
1975 (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA) 137 32.6
1974c (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA) 117 28.9
1973 (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA) 95 24.9

Still other observers point out that most income definitions do not include assets and liabilities. Perhaps the poor household has some assets, such as a home or a car, that could be converted into income. One experimental definition of income includes capital gains on earnings, although it seems to make little differenceabout 90% of all capital gains are earned by those in the upper fifth of the earnings scale. Michael Sherraden indicates in "Building Assets to Fight Poverty" (Shelterforce Online, March-April 2000) that including assets generally means little, because the overwhelming majority of poor families have few financial assets. For comparison purposes, the Census Bureau divides the population into five income groups (quintiles). According to Signe-Mary McKernan, in "Poor Finances: Assets and Low-Income Households" (June 7, 2006, http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/opre/wrconference/presentations/Poor_ Finances.ppt), the bureau reports that the bottom quintile of the population in income has a median asset holding of $17,000, whereas the second quintile has a median of $78,300 and the top quintile has $808,100. Clearly, poor and low-income families have relatively insignificant assets from which they could earn income.

Another major issue is the question of income before and after income taxes. Even though the Tax Reform Act of 1986 removed most poor households from the federal income tax rolls, many poor households still pay state and local taxes. Naturally, some critics claim, the taxes paid to local and state governments are funds that are no longer available for feeding and housing the family and, therefore, should not be counted as income.

Table 1.4 lists the various experimental definitions for income that the Census Bureau has considered. Table 1.5 illustrates that the use of these selected definitions typically lowers the poverty rate.

Growing Income Inequality

The Census Bureau has released a number of studies showing a change in the distribution of wealth and earnings in the United States. This change has resulted in an increase in the gap between the rich and the poor. Unlike many short-term economic changes that are often the product of normal economic cycles of growth and recession, these changes seem to indicate fundamental changes in American society.

The growing inequality in income in the United States began in the 1980s. In 2005 the income differences between income quintiles were close to record highs, with only the top fifth having increased its percentage of the nation's income since the 1980s. (See Table 1.6.) Census data show that in 2005 the quintile of households with the highest incomes received 50.4% of the national income, up from 50.1% the year before, about the same as that received by the other 80% of the population combined. The lowest quintile received only 3.4% of the national income in 2005. (Table 1.7.)

TABLE 1.4
Median household income estimates based on alternative income definitions, 200203
[Income in 2003 dollars]
Alternative income definitions Median income Percent change in real income 2002 to 2003 Percent of money income
2002 Estimate 2003 Estimate
*Twenty states (Arizona, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Wisconsin) and the District of Columbia have Earned Income Credit (EIC) or Low Income Credit (LIC) programs modeled in the state tax programs. The remaining states do not have such programs.
Note: Definition numbering reflects historical series identification.
Source: Robert W. Cleveland, "Table 1. Median Household Income Estimates Based on Alternative Income Definitions: 2002 and 2003," in Alternative Income Estimates in the United States: 2003Current Population Reports, U.S. Census Bureau, June 2005, http://www2.census.gov/prod2/popscan/p60-228.pdf (accessed December 13, 2006)
1. MI: Money income excluding capital gains or losses 43,381 43,318 0.1 100.0
1b. MITx: Definition 1 plus realized capital gains (losses), less taxes 38,049 38,306  0.7 88.4
2. Definition 1 less government cash transfers 39,998 39,896 0.3 92.1
3. Definition 2 plus realized capital gains (losses) 40,450 40,263 0.5 92.9
4. Definition 3 plus health insurance supplements to wage or salary income. 42,422 42,295 0.3 97.6
5. Definition 4 less Social Security payroll taxes 39,664 39,695  0.1 91.6
6. Definition 5 less federal income taxes (excluding the Earned Income Credit [EIC]) 36,868 37,274  1.1 86.0
7. Definition 6 plus the EIC* 37,061 37,490  1.2 86.5
8. Definition 7 less state income taxes 36,197 36,688  1.4 84.7
9. Definition 8 plus nonmeans-tested government cash transfers 40,024 40,605  1.5 93.7
10. Definition 9 plus the value of Medicare 42,222 42,679  1.1 98.5
11. Definition 10 plus the value of regular-price school lunches. 42,234 42,690  1.1 98.6
12. Definition 11 plus means-tested government cash transfers 42,432 42,876  1.5 99.0
13. Definition 12 plus the value of Medicaid 43,013 43,465  1.1* 100.3
14a. MITx+NCMM: Definition 13 plus the value of other means-tested government noncash transfers, less Medicare and Medicaid. 40,437 40,924  1.2 94.5
14. MITx+NC: Definition 14a plus the value of Medicare and Medicaid 43,155 43,629  1.1 100.7
15. MITx+NC+HE: Definition 14 plus imputed return on home equity. 44,884 45,154  0.6 104.2

Why Is the Income Gap Growing?

Many reasons exist to explain the growing inequality, although observers disagree about which are more important. One reason is that the proportion of the elderly population, who are likely to earn less, is growing. According to the Census Bureau, 23.5 million of 114.4 million households in 2005 were headed by a householder sixty-five years of age or older. (See Table 1.8.) (A household may consist of a single individual or a group of related or unrelated people living together, whereas a family consists of related individuals.) In addition, more people than in previous years were living in nonfamily situations (either alone or with nonrelatives). In 2005, 37 million of 114.4 million households were nonfamily households. These nonfamily households earned a median income of $27,326 in 2005, compared with the $57,278 median income of family households.

The increase in the number of households headed by females, as well as the increased labor force participation of women, has also contributed to growing income inequality in the United States. In 2005, 14.1 million of 77.4 million family households, or 18.2%, were headed by women; 20.2 million of 37 million nonfamily households, or 54.7%, were headed by women. (See Table 1.8.) Female-headed households typically earn significantly less than other types of households. According to Carmen DeNavas-Walt, Bernadette D. Proctor, and Cheryl Hill Lee, in Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2005Current Population Reports (August 2006, http://www.census.gov/prod/2006pubs/p60-231.pdf), on average, women earned 77% of what men earned in 2005.

In The Changing Shape of the Nation's Income Distribution (June 2000, http://www.census.gov/prod/2000pubs/p60-204.pdf), Arthur F. Jones Jr. and Daniel H. Weinberg note that other factors contribute to the growing income gap, including the decline in the influence of unions and the changing occupational structure, in general, from better-paying manufacturing positions to lower-paying service jobs. In addition, DeNavas-Walt, Proctor, and Hill Lee indicate that the proportion of low-wage workers who receive employer-based health insurance and pension benefits dropped significantly between 1987 and 2005.

HOMELESSNESS

Homelessness is a complex social problem. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless fact sheet "How Many People Experience Homelessness?" (June 2006, http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/facts/How_Many.pdf), approximately 3.5 million Americans, 1.3 million of them children, lack a place to sleep at some time during the year. Social researcherseducators, sociologists, economists, and political scientistshave studied homelessness in the past and present and have determined that homelessness is caused by a combination of poverty, misfortune, illness, and behavior.

TABLE 1.5
Poverty estimates based on alternative measures of income, 200203
[Numbers of people in thousands, poverty rates in percentage points]
Selected alternative income definitions 2002 2003 Change (2003 less 2002)*
Number below poverty Poverty rate Number below poverty Poverty rate Number below poverty Poverty rate
*Details may not sum to totals because of rounding.
Source: Joe Dalaker, "Table 1. Poverty Estimates Based on Alternative Measures of Income: 2002 and 2003," Alternative Poverty Estimates in the United States: 2003Current Population Reports, U.S. Census Bureau, June 2005, http://www.census.gov/prod/2005pubs/p60-227.pdf (accessed December 13, 2006)
Thresholds adjusted for inflation using CPI-U
MI (money income; used in official measure of poverty) 34,570 12.1 35,861 1 2.5 1,291 0.3
MITx (money income plus realized capital gains (losses), less income and payroll taxes) 33,035 11.6 34,409 1 2.0 1,374 0.4
MITx+NCMM (money income plus realized capital gains (losses), less income and payroll taxes, plus value of employer-provided health benefits and all noncash transfers except Medicare and Medicaid) 28,074 9.8 29,243 10.2 1,169 0.4
MITx+NC (money income plus capital gains (losses), less income and payroll taxes, plus value of all noncash transfers) 26,662 9.3 27,792 9.7 1,130 0.4
MITx+NC+HE (money income plus capital gains (losses), less income and payroll taxes, plus value of all noncash transfers, plus imputed return to home equity) 24,581 8.6 25,956 9.0 1,375 0.4
Thresholds adjusted for inflation using CPI-U-RS
MI (money income; used in official measure of poverty) 28,909 10.1 30,304 10.5 1,395 0.4
MITx (money income plus realized capital gains (losses), less income and payroll taxes) 27,038 9.5 28,205 9.8 1,167 0.3
MITx+NCMM (money income plus realized capital gains (losses), less income and payroll taxes, plus value of employer-provided health benefits and all noncash transfers except Medicare and Medicaid) 22,393 7.8 23,224 8.1 831 0.3
MITx+NC (money income plus capital gains (losses), less income and payroll taxes, plus value of all noncash transfers) 21,872 7.7 22,704 7.9 832 0.2
  MITx+NC+HE (money income plus capital gains (losses), less income and payroll taxes, plus value of all noncash transfers, plus imputed return to home equity) 20,188 7.1 21,228 7.4 1,040 0.3

What Does It Mean to Be Homeless?

During a period of growing concern about homelessness in the mid-1980s, the first major piece of federal legislation aimed specifically at helping the homeless was adopted: the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act of 1987, today known as the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. Part of the act officially defined a homeless person as:

  1. An individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; and
  2. An individual who has a primary nighttime residence that is:
    1. A supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations (including welfare hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional housing for the mentally ill);
    2. An institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized; or
    3. A public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

The government's definition of a homeless person focuses on whether a person is housed. Broader definitions of homelessness take into account whether a person has a home. For example, Martha R. Burt et al. report in Helping America's Homeless: Emergency Shelter or Affordable Housing? (2001) that as late as 1980 the Census Bureau identified people who lived alone and did not have a "usual home elsewhere"in other words, a larger familyas homeless. In this sense the term home describes living within a family, rather than having a roof over one's head.

Burt et al. also state that homeless people themselves, when interviewed in the 1980s and 1990s, drew a distinction between having a house and having a home. Even when homeless people had spent significant periods of time in a traditional shelter, such as an apartment or

TABLE 1.6
Household income dispersion, 19672005
[Income in 2005 Consumer Price Index adjusted dollars]
Measures of income dispersion 2005 2004a 2003 2002 2001 2000b 1999c 1998 1997 1996 1995d 1994e 1993f 1992g 1991 1990 1989 1988 1987h 1986
Household income at selected percentiles
10th percentile upper limit 11,288 11,271 11,181 11,528 11,784 11,995 12,119 11,602 11,177 11,038 11,036 10,460 10,225 10,227 10,374 10,602 10,946 10,408 10,250 10,165
20th percentile upper limit 19,178 19,104 19,085 19,448 19,817 20,314 20,073 19,275 18,678 18,294 18,317 17,493 17,251 17,181 17,599 18,104 18,390 18,047 17,748 17,413
50th (median) 46,326 45,817 45,970 46,036 46,569 47,599 47,671 46,508 44,883 43,967 43,346 42,038 41,562 41,774 42,108 43,366 43,946 43,168 42,827 42,309
80th percentile upper limit 91,705 90,945 92,185 91,202 92,083 92,688 92,813 89,703 86,721 84,256 82,840 81,878 80,221 79,095 79,334 79,953 81,656 80,221 79,477 78,139
90th percentile lower limit 126,090 124,908 125,436 123,872 125,308 126,960 126,252 121,159 118,453 114,030 111,556 110,597 108,746 105,743 106,065 107,319 109,393 106,236 104,852 102,555
95th percentile lower limit 166,000 162,408 163,555 162,831 165,969 164,617 166,340 158,116 153,490 148,084 143,740 143,089 139,209 135,019 134,742 137,223 139,489 135,792 132,993 131,030
Household income ratios of selected percentiles
90th/10th 11.17 11.08 11.22 10.75 10.63 10.58 10.42 10.44 10.60 10.33 10.11 10.57 10.64 10.34 10.22 10.12 9.99 10.21 10.23 10.09
95th/20th 8.66 8.50 8.57 8.37 8.38 8.10 8.29 8.20 8.22 8.09 7.85 8.18 8.07 7.86 7.66 7.58 7.59 7.52 7.49 7.52
95th/50th 3.61 3.57 3.57 3.54 3.57 3.46 3.52 3.41 3.43 3.40 3.32 3.41 3.37 3.27 3.21 3.17 3.17 3.16 3.11 3.10
80th/50th 1.99 2.00 2.01 1.99 1.98 1.95 1.96 1.93 1.94 1.93 1.92 1.95 1.94 1.91 1.89 1.85 1.86 1.86 1.86 1.85
80th/20th 4.78 4.76 4.83 4.69 4.65 4.56 4.62 4.65 4.64 4.61 4.52 4.68 4.65 4.60 4.51 4.42 4.44 4.45 4.48 4.49
20th/50th 0.42 0.42 0.42 0.42 0.43 0.43 0.42 0.42 0.42 0.42 0.42 0.42 0.42 0.42 0.42 0.42 0.42 0.42 0.42 0.41
Mean household income of quintiles
Lowest quintile 10,655 10,587 10,608 10,845 11,178 11,514 11,614 11,031 10,721 10,648 10,616 10,050 9,790 9,894 10,101 10,378 10,633 10,250 10,077 9,813
Second quintile 27,357 27,089 27,250 27,572 28,086 28,748 28,518 27,854 26,802 26,135 25,946 25,047 24,819 24,791 25,369 26,112 26,455 25,873 25,611 25,240
Third quintile 46,301 45,896 46,256 46,462 47,011 47,874 47,735 46,607 45,091 43,959 43,384 42,196 41,603 41,766 42,139 43,131 43,976 43,273 42,818 42,236
Fourth quintile 72,825 72,368 73,218 73,085 73,709 74,423 74,293 72,081 69,840 68,036 66,691 65,661 64,654 64,115 64,236 65,030 66,518 65,413 64,721 63,629
Highest quintile 159,583 156,502 156,082 156,038 160,975 161,272 158,432 152,531 148,898 143,096 139,175 138,039 134,704 124,233 123,179 126,199 130,031 124,881 123,082 120,434
Shares of household income of quintiles
Lowest quintile 3.4 3.4 3.4 3.5 3.5 3.6 3.6 3.6 3.6 3.6 3.7 3.6 3.6 3.8 3.8 3.8 3.8 3.8 3.8 3.8
Second quintile 8.6 8.7 8.7 8.8 8.7 8.9 8.9 9.0 8.9 9.0 9.1 8.9 9.0 9.4 9.6 9.6 9.5 9.6 9.6 9.7
Third quintile 14.6 14.7 14.8 14.8 14.6 14.8 14.9 15.0 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.0 15.1 15.8 15.9 15.9 15.8 16.0 16.1 16.2
Fourth quintile 23.0 23.2 23.4 23.3 23.0 23.0 23.2 23.2 23.2 23.3 23.3 23.4 23.5 24.2 24.2 24.0 24.0 24.2 24.3 24.3
Highest quintile 50.4 50.1 49.8 49.7 50.1 49.8 49.4 49.2 49.4 49.0 48.7 49.1 48.9 46.9 46.5 46.6 46.8 46.3 46.2 46.1
Summary measures
Gini index of income inequality 0.469 0.466 0.464 0.462 0.466 0.462 0.458 0.456 0.459 0.455 0.450 0.456 0.454 0.433 0.428 0.428 0.431 0.426 0.426 0.425
Mean logarithmic deviation of income 0.545 0.543 0.530 0.514 0.515 0.490 0.476 0.488 0.484 0.464 0.452 0.471 0.467 0.416 0.411 0.402 0.406 0.401 0.414 0.416
Theil 0.411 0.406 0.397 0.398 0.413 0.404 0.386 0.389 0.396 0.389 0.378 0.387 0.385 0.323 0.313 0.31 7 0.324 0.314 0.311 0.310
Atkinson:
    e=0.25 0.098 0.097 0.095 0.095 0.098 0.096 0.092 0.093 0.094 0.093 0.090 0.092 0.092 0.080 0.078 0.078 0.080 0.078 0.077 0.077
    e=0.50 0.192 0.190 0.187 0.186 0.189 0.185 0.180 0.181 0.183 0.179 0.175 0.180 0.178 0.160 0.156 0.156 0.158 0.155 0.155 0.155
    e=0.75 0.289 0.286 0.283 0.279 0.282 0.275 0.268 0.271 0.272 0.266 0.261 0.268 0.266 0.242 0.237 0.236 0.239 0.236 0.238 0.237
TABLE 1.6
Household income dispersion, 19672005 [continued]
[Income in 2005 Consumer Price Index adjusted dollars]
Measures of income dispersion 1985i 1984 1983j 1982 1981 1980 1979k 1978 1977 1976 1975 1974l 1973 1972m 1971n 1970 1969 1968 1967o
Household Income at selected percentiles
10th percentile upper limit 10,204 10,187 9,775 9,801 9,969 10,097 10,228 10,410 9,956 9,842 9,786 10,067 9,990 9,540 8,954 8,821 9,017 8,781 8,073
20th percentile upper limit 17,202 16,986 16,640 16,268 16,459 16,780 1 7,442 17,222 16,302 16,347 15,990 16,829 16,734 16,379 15,841 16,057 16,314 15,825 14,859
50th (median) 40,868 40,079 39,081 39,064 39,125 39,739 41,015 41,061 38,585 38,368 37,736 38,774 40,008 39,216 37,634 38,026 38,282 36,873 35,379
80th percentile upper limit 75,406 73,990 71,765 70,494 70,357 70,637 72,259 71,656 68,232 66,750 65,111 66,947 68,552 66,728 63,363 63,830 63,431 60,422 58,643
90th percentile lower limit 98,905 97,324 93,927 92,965 91,905 91,782 93,535 92,677 87,024 85,592 83,467 86,325 88,487 85,735 81,288 81,306 80,485 76,194 74,493
95th percentile lower limit 124,594 122,481 118,071 116,365 113,228 113,677 116,760 114,633 108,034 105,856 102,748 105,963 110,181 107,391 100,622 100,898 99,482 94,529 94,106
Household Income ratios of selected percentiles
90th/10th 9.69 9.55 9.61 9.48 9.22 9.09 9.14 8.90 8.74 8.70 8.53 8.58 8.86 8.99 9.08 9.22 8.93 8.68 9.23
95th/20th 7.24 7.21 7.10 7.15 6.88 6.77 6.69 6.66 6.63 6.48 6.43 6.30 6.58 6.56 6.35 6.28 6.10 5.97 6.33
95th/50th 3.05 3.06 3.04 3.00 2.91 2.86 2.87 2.80 2.80 2.76 2.74 2.76 2.78 2.75 2.68 2.67 2.62 2.58 2.70
80th/50th 1.85 1.85 1.85 1.82 1.81 1.78 1.77 1.75 1.77 1.74 1.73 1.74 1.73 1.71 1.69 1.69 1.67 1.65 1.68
80th/20th 4.38 4.36 4.31 4.33 4.27 4.21 4.14 4.16 4.19 4.08 4.07 3.98 4.10 4.07 4.00 3.98 3.89 3.82 3.95
20th/50th 0.42 0.42 0.43 0.42 0.42 0.42 0.43 0.42 0.42 0.43 0.43 0.44 0.42 0.42 0.42 0.42 0.43 0.43 0.43
Mean household encome of quintiles
Lowest quintile 9,714 9,720 9,395 9,276 9,440 9,671 9,982 10,045 9,481 9,535 9,304 9,636 9,663 9,233 8,721 8,672 8,816 8,599 7,923
Second quintile 24,618 24,210 23,602 23,475 23,515 24,071 24,828 24,669 23,337 23,341 22,852 23,951 24,297 23,849 23,050 23,492 23,803 23,060 21,955
Third quintile 40,863 40,120 39,021 38,857 38,955 39,720 40,934 40,732 38,606 38,384 37,494 38,602 39,853 38,921 37,370 37,830 38,036 36,572 35,054
Fourth quintile 61,466 60,408 58,555 57,790 58,068 58,517 60,069 59,666 56,565 55,742 54,479 55,748 57,330 55,876 53,129 53,324 53,276 51,018 49,045
Highest quintile 114,816 111,075 107,509 105,991 103,726 104,333 107,803 106,526 100,868 98,654 96,188 98,772 102,579 100,314 94,139 94,403 93,642 88,651 88,263
Shares of household income of quintiles
Lowest quintile 3.9 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.1 4.2 4.2 4.3 4.3 4.3 4.2 4.1 4.1 4.1 4.1 4.2 4.0
Second quintile 9.8 9.9 9.9 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.2 10.2 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.6 10.4 10.4 10.6 10.8 10.9 11.1 10.8
Third quintile 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 16.7 16.8 16.8 16.8 16.9 1 7.0 17.0 17.0 17.0 17.0 17.3 17.4 1 7.5 17.6 17.3
Fourth quintile 24.4 24.6 24.6 24.5 24.8 24.7 24.6 24.7 24.7 24.7 24.7 24.6 24.5 24.5 24.5 24.5 24.5 24.5 24.2
Highest quintile 45.6 45.2 45.1 45.0 44.3 44.1 44.2 44.1 44.0 43.7 43.6 43.5 43.9 43.9 43.5 43.3 43.0 42.6 43.6
Summary measures
Gini index of income inequality 0.419 0.415 0.414 0.412 0.406 0.403 0.404 0.402 0.402 0.398 0.397 0.395 0.400 0.401 0.396 0.394 0.391 0.386 0.397
Mean logarithmic deviation of income 0.403 0.391 0.397 0.401 0.387 0.375 0.369 0.363 0.364 0.361 0.361 0.352 0.355 0.370 0.370 0.370 0.357 0.356 0.380
Theil 0.300 0.290 0.288 0.287 0.277 0.274 0.279 0.275 0.276 0.271 0.270 0.267 0.270 0.279 0.273 0.271 0.268 0.273 0.287
Atkinson:
    e=0.25 0.075 0.073 0.072 0.072 0.070 0.069 0.070 0.069 0.069 0.068 0.067 0.067 0.068 0.070 0.068 0.068 0.067 0.067 0.071
    e=0.50 0.151 0.147 0.147 0.146 0.141 0.140 0.141 0.139 0.139 0.137 0.136 0.134 0.136 0.140 0.138 0.138 0.135 0.135 0.143
    e=0.75 0.231 0.225 0.226 0.226 0.220 0.216 0.216 0.213 0.213 0.211 0.210 0.207 0.210 0.216 0.214 0.214 0.209 0.208 0.220

TABLE 1.6

Household income dispersion, 19672005 [continued]

aData have been revised to reflect a correction to the weights in the 2005 Annual Social Economic Supplement (AESC).

bImplementation of a 28,000 household sample expansion.

cImplementation of Census 2000-based population controls.

dFull implementation of 1990 census-based sample design and metropolitan definitions, 7,000 household sample reduction, and revised editing of responses on race.

eIntroduction of 1990 census sample design.

fData collection method changed from paper and pencil to computer-assisted interviewing. In addition, the 1994 ASEC was revised to allow for the coding of different income amounts on selected questionnaire items. Limits either increased or decreased in the following categories: earnings limits increased to $999,999; social security limits increased to $49,999; supplemental security income and public assistance limits increased to $24,999; veterans' benefits limits increased to $99,999; child support and alimony limits decreased to $49,999.

gImplementation of 1990 census population controls.

hImplementation of a new Current Population Survey (CPS) AESC processing system.

iRecording of amounts for earnings from longest job increased to $299,999. Full implementation of 1980 census-based sample design.

jImplementation of Hispanic population weighting controls and introduction of 1980 census-based sample design.

kImplementation of 1980 census population controls. Questionnaire expanded to allow the recording of up to 27 possible values from a list of 51 possible sources of income.

lImplementation of a new CPS ASEC processing system. Questionnaire expanded to ask 11 income questions.

mFull implementation of 1970 census-based sample design.

nIntroduction of 1970 census sample design and population controls.

oImplementation of a new CPS ASEC processing system.

source: Carmen DeNavas-Walt, Bernadette D. Proctor, and Cheryl Hill Lee, "Table A3. Selected Measures of Household Income Dispersion: 1967 to 2005," in Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2005Current Population Reports, U.S. Census Bureau, August 2006, http://www.census.gov/prod/2006pubs/p60-231.pdf (accessed December 1, 2006)

TABLE 1.7
Shares of household income, by quintile, 200405
[Income in 2005 dollars. Households and people as of March of the following year.]
Characteristic 2004a 2005 Percentage change in real Median income (2005 less 2004)
Median income (dollars) Median income (dollars)
Number (thousands) Estimate Number (thousands) Estimate Estimate
Households
All households 113,343 45,817 114,384 46,326 1.1
Type of household
Family households 76,858 57,179 77,402 57,278 0.2
   Married-couple 57,975 65,946 58,179 66,067 0.2
   Female householder, no husband present 13,981 30,823 14,093 30,650 0.6
   Male householder, no wife present 4,901 46,526 5,130 46,756 0.5
Nonfamily households 36,485 27,129 36,982 27,326 0.7
   Female householder 19,942 22,594 20,230 22,688 0.4
   Male householder 16,543 33,083 16,753 34,048 2.9
Raceb and Hispanic origin of householder
White 92,880 48,218 93,588 48,554 0.7
   White, not Hispanic 81,628 50,546 82,003 50,784 0.5
Black 13,809 31,101 14,002 30,858 0.8
Asian 4,123 59,427 4,273 61,094 2.8
Hispanic origin (any race) 12,178 35,417 12,519 35,967 1.6
Age of householder
Under 65 years 90,192 52,562 90,926 52,287 0.5
   15 to 24 years 6,733 28,497 6,795 28,770 1.0
   25 to 34 years 19,314 46,985 19,120 47,379 0.8
   35 to 44 years 23,248 58,578 23,016 58,084 0.8
   45 to 54 years 23,393 63,068 23,731 62,424 1.0
   55 to 64 years 17,503 52,077 18,264 52,260 0.4
65 years and older 23,151 25,336 23,459 26,036 2.8
Nativity of householder
Native 98,842 46,786 99,579 46,897 0.2
Foreign born 14,502 40,692 14,806 42,040 3.3
    Naturalized citizen 6,741 47,642 6,990 50,030 5.0
    Not a citizen 7,761 35,749 7,815 36,740 2.8
Region
Northeast 21,187 49,462 21,054 50,882 2.9
Midwest 25,939 46,134 26,351 45,950 0.4
South 41,224 42,108 41,805 42,138 0.1
West 24,993 49,245 25,174 50,002 1.5
Residence
Inside metropolitan statistical areas (NA) (NA) 95,107 48,474 (X)
    Inside principal cities. (NA) (NA) 38,008 41,166 (X)
    Outside principal cities (NA) (NA) 57,098 53,544 (X)
Outside metropolitan statistical areasc (NA) (NA) 19,278 37,564 (X)
Shares of household income quintiles
Lowest quintile 22,669 3.4 22,877 3.4 0.7
Second quintile 22,669 8.7 22,877 8.6 0.4
Third quintile 22,669 14.7 22,877 14.6 0.5
Fourth quintile 22,669 23.2 22,877 23.0 0.7
Highest quintile 22,669 50.1 22,877 50.4 0.6

rented room, if they felt those houses were transitional or insecure, they identified themselves as having been homeless while living there. According to Burt et al., these answers "reflect how long they have been without significant attachments to people."

Burt et al. and other homeless advocates disagree with the narrow government definition of a homeless person, which focuses on a person's sleeping arrangements. They assert that the definition should be broadened to include groups of people who, while they may have somewhere to live, do not really have a home in the conventional sense. Considerable debate has resulted over expanding the classification to include people in situations such as the following:

  • People engaging in prostitution who spend each night in a different hotel room, paid for by clients
  • Children in foster or relative care
  • People living in stable but inadequate housing (for example, having no plumbing or heating)
TABLE 1.7
Shares of household income, by quintile, 200405 [continued]
[Income in 2005 dollars. Households and people as of March of the following year.]
Characteristic 2004a 2005 Percentage change in real median income (2005 less 2004)
Median income (dollars) Median income (dollars)
Number (thousands) Estimate Number (thousands) Estimate Estimate
(NA) Not available.
(X) Not applicable.
aThe 2004 data have been revised to reflect a correction to the weights in the 2005 Annual Social and Economic Supplement.
bFederal surveys now give respondents the option of reporting more than one race. Therefore, two basic ways of defining a race group are possible. A group such as Asian may be defined as those who reported Asian and no other race (the race-alone or single-race concept) or as those who reported Asian regardless of whether they also reported another race (the race-alone-or-in-combination concept). This table shows data using the first approach (race alone). The use of the single-race population does not imply that it is the preferred method of presenting or analyzing data. The Census Bureau uses a variety of approaches. Information on people who reported more than one race, such as white and American Indian and Alaska Native or Asian and black or African American, is available from Census 2000 through American FactFinder. About 2.6 percent of people reported more than one race in Census 2000.
cThe "outside metropolitan statistical areas" category includes both micropolitan statistical areas and territory outside of metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas.
dThe data shown in this section are per capita incomes and their respective confidence intervals. Per capita income is the mean income computed for every man, woman, and child in a particular group. It is derived by dividing the total income of a particular group by the total population in that group (excluding patients or inmates in institutional quarters).
Source: Carmen DeNavas-Walt, Bernadette D. Proctor, and Cheryl Hill Lee, "Table 1. Income and Earnings Summary Measures by Selected Characteristics: 2004 and 2005," in Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2005Current Population Reports, U.S. Census Bureau, P60-231, August 2006, http://www.census.gov/prod/2006pubs/p60-231.pdf (accessed December 1, 2006)
Earnings of full-time, year-round workers
Men with earnings 60,088 42,160 61,500 41,386 1.8
Women with earnings 42,380 32,285 43,351 31,858 1.3
Per capita incomed
    Totalb 291,166 24,655 293,834 25,036 1.5
White 234,116 26,067 235,903 26,496 1.6
   White, not Hispanic 195,347 28,357 195,893 28,946 2.1
Black 36,548 16,561 36,965 16,874 1.9
Asian 12,241 27,040 12,599 27,331 1.1
Hispanic origin (any race) 41,840 14,577 43,168 14,483 0.6
  • People doubled up in conventional dwellings for the short term
  • People in hotels paid for by vouchers to the needy
  • Elderly people living with family members because they cannot afford to live elsewhere

Official definitions are important because total counts of the homeless influence levels of funding authorized by Congress for homeless programs. With the availability of federal funds since the passage of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, institutional constituencies have formed that advocate for additional funding, an effort in which more expansive definitions are helpful.

Causes of Homelessness

In 2006 the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a nonpartisan organization of cities with populations higher than thirty thousand, surveyed the mayors of major cities on the extent and causes of urban homelessness, and most of the mayors named mental illness and lack of needed services, and lack of affordable housing as major causes of homelessness (eighteen and seventeen out of twenty-three mayors surveyed, respectively). (See Table 1.9.) The next three causes were, in rank order, substance abuse and the lack of needed services (identified by sixteen mayors), low-paying jobs (identified by thirteen mayors), and domestic violence and prisoner reentry (both identified by seven mayors). The lowest ranking causes, cited by five mayors each, were unemployment and poverty. These results indicate that in the Conference of Mayors opinion, homelessness is a complex social problem arising from three fundamental and interacting causes: lack of means, medical conditions, and behavioral problems.

COUNTING THE HOMELESS

Methodology

An accurate count of the U.S. homeless population has proved to be a problem for statisticians. The most formidable obstacle is the nature of homelessness itself. Typically, researchers contact people in their homes using in-person or telephone surveys to obtain information regarding income, education levels, household size, ethnicity, and other demographic data. Because homeless people cannot be counted at home, researchers have been forced to develop new methods for collecting data on these transient groups. Martha R. Burt explored this issue for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the HHS and published in August 1999 a table of the most common methods of data collection for homeless people. (See Table 1.10.)

Counting each and every person without a home would be the most accurate way to establish the number of homeless people. However, such a count is almost

TABLE 1.8
Selected characteristics of households, by income in dollars, 2005
[Numbers in thousands. Households as of March of the following year.]
Total Under $2,500 $2,500 to $4,999 $5,000 to $7,499 $7,500 to $9,999 $10,000 to $12,499 $12,500 to $14,999 $15,000 to $17,499 $17,500 to $19,999 $20,000 to $22,499 $22,500 to $24,999 $25,000 to $27,499
All races
All households 114,384 2,622 1,109 2,513 3,157 3,786 3,546 3,691 3,424 3,934 3,090 3,820
Type of household
Family households 77,402 1,202 565 897 954 1,268 1,479 1,694 1,883 2,125 1,787 2,237
   Married-couple families 58,179 493 162 233 295 618 723 875 1,062 1,252 1,140 1,461
   Male householder, nsp* 5,130 105 50 72 77 116 104 134 177 160 119 190
   Female householder, nsp* 14,093 603 353 593 582 534 652 686 644 713 528 586
Nonfamily households 36,982 1,421 545 1,616 2,202 2,518 2,067 1,997 1,541 1,809 1,302 1,584
Male householder 16,753 546 212 501 688 900 671 739 592 806 576 695
       Living alone 13,061 480 194 471 618 852 613 660 508 709 495 576
   Female householder 20,230 875 332 1,115 1,514 1,618 1,396 1,258 949 1,003 726 889
        Living alone 17,392 803 316 1,078 1,470 1,560 1,343 1,192 873 912 667 773
Age of householder
Under 65 years 90,926 2,211 893 1,742 1,735 2,047 1,901 2,263 2,149 2,783 1,901 2,652
    15 to 24 years 6,795 381 180 265 255 317 299 325 312 383 206 358
    25 to 34 years 19,120 455 237 317 325 463 393 524 482 689 480 658
    35 to 44 years 23,016 467 133 360 328 373 382 498 441 585 475 589
    45 to 54 years 23,731 484 167 398 410 415 399 447 485 532 362 511
    55 to 64 years 18,264 425 177 403 416 480 428 469 430 595 379 536
65 years and over 23,459 411 216 771 1,422 1,738 1,645 1,428 1,275 1,152 1,189 1,168
    65 to 74 years 11,687 176 77 328 554 660 612 571 524 498 568 538
    75 years and over 11,772 235 139 443 868 1,079 1,033 857 751 654 621 630
Mean age of householder 49.2 45.7 46.3 52.2 57.3 57.2 57.6 54.5 53.8 50.8 54.1 51.0
Size of household
One person 30,453 1,283 510 1,549 2,088 2,412 1,955 1,852 1,381 1,621 1,162 1,349
Two people 37,775 729 285 463 546 741 895 970 1,175 1,256 1,143 1,411
Three people 18,924 304 164 275 259 283 312 386 420 510 336 474
Four people 15,998 174 93 122 142 199 221 280 231 298 253 328
Five people 7,306 82 38 59 82 93 112 115 140 167 137 167
Six people 2,562 34 10 30 28 38 29 49 44 46 37 57
Seven people or more 1,366 18 8 13 11 20 20 40 33 37 23 34
Mean size of household 2.57 1.97 2.04 1.76 1.66 1.71 1.84 1.99 2.10 2.11 2.14 2.21
Number of earners
No earners 24,224 2,089 592 1,672 2,246 2,258 2,018 1,633 1,381 1,219 1,208 1,111
One earner 42,066 482 461 732 812 1,367 1,330 1,726 1,662 2,238 1,397 2,026
Two earners or more 48,095 51 55 109 98 161 198 332 381 478 484 684
    2 earners 38,327 48 53 104 90 148 191 311 361 443 452 629
    3 earners 7,337 3 3 4 6 11 6 20 17 32 31 49
    4 earners or more 2,430 0 0 0 3 3 0 2 2 3 1 6
Mean number of earners 1.36 0.23 0.52 0.39 0.33 0.46 0.50 0.67 0.73 0.84 0.79 0.93
TABLE 1.8
Selected characteristics of households, by income in dollars, 2005 [continued]
[Numbers in thousands. Households as of March of the following year.]
Total Under $2,500 $2,500 to $4,999 $5,000 to $7,499 $7,500 to $9,999 $10,000 to $12,499 $12,500 to $14,999 $15,000 to $17,499 $17,500 to $19,999 $20,000 to $22,499 $22,500 to $24,999 $25,000 to $27,499
Educational attainment of householder
Total, 25 yrs & over 107,589 2,241 930 2,248 2,902 3,469 3,247 3,367 3,112 3,552 2,884 3,462
Less than 9th grade 6,088 186 108 437 590 558 389 407 340 323 244 277
9th to 12th grade, no diploma 9,130 359 162 454 600 612 554 528 450 514 380 421
High school graduate (includes equivalency) 32,345 785 312 754 983 1,256 1,274 1,314 1,223 1,466 1,111 1,316
Some college, no degree 19,311 356 184 301 358 486 507 536 518 629 478 673
Associate degree 9,563 157 54 111 129 203 204 237 213 212 231 257
Bachelor's degree or more 31,153 398 108 191 241 354 318 346 367 407 440 518
    Bachelor's degree 19,843 268 79 148 179 264 247 237 268 287 346 363
    Master's degree 7,943 91 18 32 53 63 50 90 77 97 70 110
    Professional degree 1,789 20 3 6 6 11 8 7 19 10 16 23
    Doctorate degree 1,578 18 8 4 4 15 13 12 3 12 8 21
$27,500 to $29,999 $30,000 to $32,499 $32,500 to $34,999 $35,000 to $37,499 $37,500 to $39,999 $40,000 to $42,499 $42,500 to $44,999 $45,000 to $47,499 $47,500 to $49,999 $50,000 to $52,499 $52,500 to $54,999 $55,000 to $57,499
All races
All households 2,798 3,882 2,530 3,506 2,470 3,464 2,306 2,913 2,345 3,142 1,975 2,490
Type of household
Family households 1,742 2,477 1,686 2,116 1,677 2,284 1,658 2,037 1,667 2,137 1,453 1,840
    Married-couple families 1,181 1,667 1,153 1,361 1,194 1,653 1,213 1,519 1,234 1,645 1,102 1,454
    Male householder, nsp* 145 206 140 221 150 184 109 152 129 185 111 107
    Female householder, nsp* 416 604 393 534 333 447 335 366 304 307 241 279
Nonfamily households 1,056 1,405 844 1,389 793 1,180 648 875 679 1,005 523 649
    Male householder 444 758 403 738 399 627 315 445 362 566 272 315
        Living alone 349 650 325 626 297 480 243 339 253 430 193 233
    Female householder 612 648 441 651 394 553 334 430 317 439 251 334
        Living alone 535 567 350 569 328 497 262 347 259 340 179 261
Age of householder
Under 65 years 1,918 3,081 1,876 2,832 1,876 2,910 1,804 2,409 1,971 2,740 1,601 2,184
    15 to 24 years 233 283 199 264 149 218 157 174 141 210 114 110
    25 to 34 years 459 811 449 742 438 737 368 559 481 652 374 578
    35 to 44 years 442 731 454 699 428 725 445 637 491 768 394 574
    45 to 54 years 401 687 424 641 445 682 461 581 467 646 379 520
    55 to 64 years 382 571 349 486 415 548 373 458 391 465 340 401
65 years and over 879 800 654 674 594 554 502 504 374 402 374 306
    65 to 74 years 454 427 355 337 315 292 272 271 203 247 233 187
    75 years and over 426 374 299 337 279 262 231 232 171 155 141 119
Mean age of householder 51.6 47.8 49.6 47.1 50.1 46.9 49.5 47.5 47.1 45.4 48.1 45.7
Size of household
One person 884 1,217 676 1,196 624 977 506 685 511 770 371 494
Two people 1,112 1,355 999 1,106 948 1,228 877 1,026 866 1,065 709 867
Three people 334 553 384 537 389 526 419 514 425 579 413 454
Four people 246 413 295 369 287 426 284 398 293 429 278 396
TABLE 1.8
Selected characteristics of households, by income in dollars, 2005 [continued]
[Numbers in thousands. Households as of March of the following year.]
$27,500 to $29,999 $30,000 to $32,499 $32,500 to $34,999 $35,000 to $37,499 $37,500 to $39,999 $40,000 to $42,499 $42,500 to $44,999 $45,000 to $47,499 $47,500 to $49,999 $50,000 to $52,499 $52,500 to $54,999 $55,000 to $57,499
Five people 133 220 108 187 143 186 124 169 156 181 124 160
Six people 52 77 43 77 51 80 54 69 77 84 51 66
Seven people or more 37 48 25 35 26 41 44 52 18 34 29 53
Mean size of household 2.30 2.38 2.39 2.36 2.49 2.46 2.60 2.60 2.62 2.60 2.72 2.75
Number of earners
No earners 800 676 533 521 449 416 385 342 280 252 184 169
One earner 1,334 2,280 1,198 1,967 1,151 1,827 920 1,386 926 1,500 752 967
Two earners or more 663 926 798 1,018 870 1,220 1,001 1,185 1,139 1,390 1,039 1,354
    2 earners 604 831 723 877 786 1,088 843 1,006 979 1,220 870 1,146
    3 earners 48 82 67 129 78 119 142 159 125 151 144 179
    4 earners or more 11 14 8 11 7 13 17 19 36 20 24 29
Mean number of earners 1.01 1.12 1.17 1.22 1.25 1.31 1.38 1.39 1.49 1.46 1.58 1.61
Educational attainment of householder
Total, 25 yrs & over 2,564 3,599 2,331 3,242 2,321 3,246 2,149 2,739 2,204 2,932 1,861 2,380
Less than 9th grade 201 258 156 183 104 145 115 101 80 112 58 72
9th to 12th grade, no diploma 298 418 241 267 248 274 178 205 140 180 135 161
High school graduate (includes equivalency) 904 1,176 897 1,169 843 1,047 676 941 740 956 599 756
Some college, no degree 494 733 456 664 451 654 483 543 477 639 394 472
Associate degree 248 345 178 317 207 355 243 232 213 277 178 274
    Bachelor's degree or more 420 670 403 641 467 772 454 716 553 768 497 644
    Bachelor's degree 300 504 267 479 324 501 291 472 391 494 329 404
    Master's degree 98 116 104 138 105 219 115 184 131 219 120 202
    Professional degree 13 30 19 12 22 21 20 34 19 27 18 19
    Doctorate degree 9 21 13 12 17 30 27 25 12 28 30 19
$57,500 to $59,999 $60,000 to $62,499 $62,500 to $64,999 $65,000 to $67,499 $67,500 to $69,999 $70,000 to $72,499 $72,500 to $74,999 $75,000 to $77,499 $77,500 to $79,999 $80,000 to $82,499 $82,500 to $84,999 $85,000 to $87,499
All races
All households 1,745 2,702 1,703 2,073 1,660 2,094 1,447 1,893 1,271 1,704 1,233 1,320
Type of householder
Family households 1,388 2,045 1,389 1,633 1,343 1,653 1,190 1,502 1,047 1,372 1,052 1,114
    Married-couple families 1,079 1,633 1,125 1,317 1,092 1,401 1,015 1,260 900 1,181 885 974
    Male householder, nsp* 110 162 80 106 92 108 55 105 51 96 52 49
    Female householder, nsp* 199 249 184 210 159 145 120 137 96 95 115 91
Nonfamily households 357 657 313 440 317 441 257 391 223 332 181 206
    Male householder 174 342 174 236 144 231 149 233 127 207 97 110
        Living alone 108 246 120 153 93 140 90 152 73 106 54 59
    Female householder 183 315 139 204 173 210 108 157 96 125 84 96
        Living alone 117 212 94 137 103 138 79 110 48 84 44 59
Age of householder
Under 65 years 1,498 2,432 1,450 1,861 1,425 1,882 1,248 1,715 1,138 1,575 1,090 1,204
    15 to 24 years 85 127 64 58 97 71 55 102 35 59 44 34
    25 to 34 years 382 628 306 423 262 453 249 391 229 314 204 235
TABLE 1.8
Selected characteristics of households, by income in dollars, 2005 [continued]
[Numbers in thousands. Households as of March of the following year.]
$57,500 to $59,999 $60,000 to $62,499 $62,500 to $64,999 $65,000 to $67,499 $67,500 to $69,999 $70,000 to $72,499 $72,500 to $74,999 $75,000 to $77,499 $77,500 to $79,999 $80,000 to $82,499 $82,500 to $84,999 $85,000 to $87,499
    35 to 44 years 376 643 428 501 364 492 327 431 315 481 280 387
    45 to 54 years 359 583 357 566 359 528 379 507 314 449 347 354
    55 to 64 years 296 451 295 313 343 339 239 285 245 271 216 193
65 years and over 246 270 253 212 235 213 199 178 133 130 143 116
    65 to 74 years 159 179 163 129 152 140 125 112 78 93 92 77
    75 years and over 88 90 89 83 83 73 74 65 55 37 51 39
Mean age of householder 46.5 45.2 47.5 46.0 48.0 45.8 47.7 45.2 46.9 45.3 47.4 45.6
Size of household
One person 224 458 213 289 195 278 169 261 121 189 98 118
Two people 657 973 665 715 701 796 528 660 467 590 439 500
Three people 376 506 328 450 356 379 290 368 257 345 268 281
Four people 290 414 289 362 225 390 259 350 244 378 256 249
Five people 117 232 126 163 119 180 126 169 140 140 110 119
Six people 56 76 57 68 41 50 47 54 25 47 41 26
Seven people or more 23 41 24 25 22 22 28 31 16 16 21 26
Mean size of household 2.87 2.82 2.89 2.93 2.80 2.88 3.00 2.95 3.04 3.01 3.10 3.00
Number of earners
No earners 128 138 111 84 148 110 93 85 73 54 58 51
One earner 561 1,108 492 668 466 655 393 597 267 485 277 293
Two earners or more 1,056 1,456 1,100 1,321 1,046 1,329 962 1,211 930 1,165 898 975
    2 earners 886 1,240 878 1,089 850 1,101 764 953 706 908 671 791
    3 earners 142 175 182 171 157 173 153 205 162 205 180 132
    4 earners or more 28 42 40 62 38 55 44 53 62 52 48 53
Mean number of earners 1.70 1.63 1.79 1.81 1.74 1.77 1.82 1.82 1.98 1.89 1.97 1.94
Educational attainment of householder
Total, 25 yrs & over 1,660 2,575 1,639 2,015 1,562 2,023 1,393 1,791 1,236 1,645 1,189 1,285
Less than 9th grade 33 68 57 56 41 39 20 37 24 16 20 21
9th to 12th grade, no diploma 96 149 90 96 62 72 45 47 44 60 40 45
High school graduate (includes equivalency) 509 794 477 589 462 576 393 488 344 432 282 306
Some college, no degree 340 466 295 392 263 394 271 333 259 296 236 270
Associate degree 181 258 201 206 179 239 159 215 133 184 128 142
Bachelor's degree or more 500 840 518 676 556 703 505 672 431 657 483 500
    Bachelor's degree 311 533 353 454 367 475 331 440 262 425 313 350
    Master's degree 145 250 124 166 141 164 116 163 129 170 118 115
    Professional degree 18 28 24 33 28 30 22 35 17 23 22 23
    Doctorate degree 26 28 17 22 20 33 36 34 24 39 30 12
TABLE 1.8
Selected characteristics of households, by income in dollars, 2005 [continued]
[Numbers in thousands. Households as of March of the following year.]
$87,500 to $89,999 $90,000 to $92,499 $92,500 to $94,999 $95,000 to $97,499 $97,500 to $99,999 $100,000 and over Median income Value (Dol.) Mean income Value (Dol.)
All races
All households 1,084 1,456 881 1,038 854 19,716 46,326 63,344
Type of household
Family households 926 1,213 787 911 755 17,219 57,278 74,390
    Married-couple families 798 1,068 677 803 658 15,622 66,067 83,757
    Male householder, nsp* 35 56 41 36 38 715 46,756 59,533
    Female householder, nsp* 92 88 68 71 58 883 30,650 41,131
Nonfamily households 158 243 95 128 99 2,496 27,326 40,225
    Male householder 102 152 68 83 57 1,497 34,048 47,355
        Living alone 46 91 36 49 30 824 30,020 41,279
    Female householder 56 92 27 44 42 999 22,688 34,321
        Living alone 30 62 9 31 19 537 20,166 29,233
Age of householder
Under 65 years 977 1,328 826 942 781 18,074 52,287 69,195
    15 to 24 years 18 19 18 23 26 330 28,770 37,265
    25 to 34 years 164 307 152 188 119 2,445 47,379 57,746
    35 to 44 years 266 389 242 293 243 5,139 58,084 74,259
    45 to 54 years 318 404 266 287 232 6,181 62,424 81,141
    55 to 64 years 210 209 150 152 161 3,980 52,260 71,155
65 years and over 107 128 55 97 72 1,641 26,036 40,668
    65 to 74 years 77 82 41 74 46 1,170 31,670 49,477
    75 years and over 31 46 15 22 26 471 21,842 31,923
Mean age of householder 47.7 45.7 46.0 45.9 46.7 47.8 (X) (X)
Size of household
One person 76 153 44 80 50 1,361 23,736 34,400
Two people 405 473 309 296 239 6,589 49,294 65,336
Three people 261 330 204 234 214 4,230 58,917 74,879
Four people 225 304 191