Skip Main Navigation Skip To Navigation Content

Income

Skip top of page navigation
Census.govPopulation Income Main About Income › FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What do the initials CPS stand for?
The initials CPS stand for Current Population Survey. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) sponsors this survey. The BLS uses the CPS to produce the official monthly unemployment data. In addition to the basic questions, each March field representatives ask respondents supplemental questions on their income and earnings during the previous calendar year.

Is CPS income data comparable with other surveys?
You can access "Guidance on Survey Differences in Income and Poverty Estimates" for differences between Census Bureau surveys. For differences between other agencies and census income, you should see "Comparability of Current Population Survey Income Data with Other Data".

What is the difference between households and families?
A family consists of two or more people (one of whom is the householder) related by birth, marriage, or adoption residing in the same housing unit. A household consists of all people who occupy a housing unit regardless of relationship. A household may consist of a person living alone or multiple unrelated individuals or families living together. You may access all of the CPS definitions at http://www.census.gov/population/www/cps/cpsdef.html

What is the difference between a median and a mean?
Median income is the amount which divides the income distribution into two equal groups, half having income above that amount, and half having income below that amount. Mean income (average) is the amount obtained by dividing the total aggregate income of a group by the number of units in that group. The means and medians for households and families are based on all households and families. Means and medians for people are based on people 15 years old and over with income. You may access all of the CPS definitions at http://www.census.gov/population/www/cps/cpsdef.html

What is the latest median household income in the US by race and Hispanic origin?
The Census Bureau released income based on the CPS for calendar year 2001 on September 24, 2002. Median household income for all households is $42,228; for White non-Hispanic households $46,305; for Black households $29,470; and for Hispanic households $33,565. These data are also available for families and people. For more information on this and other income subjects, access our main income page; our section on detailed income tabulations; or our historical income tables.

What is the income of the "middle class"
The Census Bureau does not have an official definition of "middle class." We do, however, derive several measures related to the distribution of income and income inequality. You may access more information on income inequality (middle class) or general income distributions through our detailed income tabulations page.

Do you have income data by quintile, decile, or percentile?
Quintile data and data for the top 5 percent are available for households and families. You may access tables showing these data through our historical income table section on income inequality.

What is the median annual earnings for a person in executive, administrative, or managerial occupations?
People in this occupation category had 2001 median earnings of $43,821. You may access data on other occupation categories through our detailed income tabulations page or our historical income tables.

How much money does a woman earn compared to a man?
Based on median earnings of full-time year-round, workers, the female-to-male earnings ratio in 2001 was .76. You may access historical data on this subject through our historical income tables.

What is the median earnings for a man or woman with a Bachelor's Degree?
Men 25 years old and over who work full-time year-round and have a Bachelor's Degree have 2001 median annual earnings of $53,108. The comparable figure for women is $39,818. You may access more data on earnings by education through our detailed income tabulations page our detailed income tabulations page or our historical income tables.

Do you have income for the elderly?
The latest income for people 65 years old and over based on the CPS is for calendar year 2001. The median income for this group is $14,152. We also show data for males and females separately. You may access more information on income by age through our detailed income tabulations page or our historical income tables.

How can I access microdata files on internet?
You may access the microdata files for the CPS through the Federal Electronic Research and Review Extraction Tool (Ferret).

I am having trouble accessing your income data, what should I do?
f you are having trouble accessing our data, please contact the Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division at (301) 763-3242 for instructions.

How can I download your data?
If you are having trouble downloading our data, please contact the Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division at (301) 763-3242 for instructions.


Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Income |  Last Revised: September 13, 2011