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American Community Survey

Census.govAmerican Community Survey › About the Survey: About the American Community SurveyQuestions on the form and why we ask › Income Questions
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Income Questions

Q for question cornerIncome in the past 12 months: wages, salary, tips etc.; self-employment income; interest, dividends, net rental income, royalty income etc.; social security or railroad retirement; supplemental security income; public assistance or welfare payments; retirement, survivor or disability pensions; other sources. What was this person's total income during the past 12 months?

Why we ask questions on this topic

image of wallet with dollar sign representing income

We ask these questions to get key statistics used to determine poverty levels, measure economic well-being, and gauge the need for economic assistance. State and local governments use this information to decide how to allocate funds for food, health care, job training, housing and other assistance programs.

Download pdf version for printingDownload the FactSheet: Income
Covering Questions 47 - 48 in the "persons" section of the form, or continue reading below.

Income data are used to identify local areas eligible for grants to stimulate economic recovery, run job-training programs...

Meeting Federal Needs

Income is a vital measure of general economic circumstances. Income data are used to determine poverty status, to measure economic well-being, and to assess the need for assistance. These data are included in federal allocation formulas for many government programs.

Community Benefits

Social Services

Under the Older Americans Act, funds for food, health care, and legal services are distributed to local agencies based on data about elderly people with low incomes.

Data about income at the state and county levels are used to allocate funds for food, health care, and classes in meal planning to low-income women with children.


Income data are used to identify local areas eligible for grants to stimulate economic recovery, run job-training programs, and define areas such as empowerment or enterprise zones.


Under the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, income data are used to allocate funds to areas for home energy aid.

Under the Community Development Block Grant Program, funding for housing assistance and other community development is based on income and other decennial census data.


Data about poor children are used to allocate funds to counties and school districts. These funds provide resources and services to improve the education of economically disadvantaged children.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | American Community Survey Office | Email ACS | Last Revised: December 04, 2014
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