Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States 2003

August 2004
Report Number: P60-226

Carmen DeNavas-Walt, Bernadette D. Proctor, and Robert J. Mills


This report presents data on income, poverty, and health insurance coverage in the United States based on information collected in the 2004 and earlier Annual Social and Economic Supplements (ASEC) to the Current Population Survey (CPS) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Press Briefing

Source and Accuracy


The data presented here are from the Current Population Survey (CPS), 2004 Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC), the source of official poverty estimates. The CPS ASEC is a sample survey of approximately 100,000 household nationwide. These data reflect conditions in calendar year 2003.

  • The official poverty rate in 2003 was 12.5 percent, up from 12.1 percent in 2002.
  • In 2003, 35.9 million people were in poverty, up 1.3 million from 2002.
  • Poverty rates remained unchanged for Hispanics, non-Hispanic Whites, and Blacks, although it rose for Whites and Asians.1
  • For children under 18 years old, both the poverty rate and the number in poverty rose between 2002 and 2003, from 16.7 percent to 17.6 percent, and from 12.1 million to 12.9 million, respectively. The poverty rate of children under 18 remained higher than that of 18-to-64 years olds and that of seniors aged 65 and over (10.8 percent and 10.2 percent, respectively, both unchanged from 2002)
  • The poverty rate in 2003 (12.5 percent) is 9.9 percentage points lower than in 1959, the first year for which poverty estimates are available. From the most recent trough in 2000, both the number and rate have risen for three consecutive years, from 31.6 million and 11.3 percent in 2000, to 35.9 million and 12.5 percent in 2003.


  1. These statements are correct for both ways of measuring the Black, Asian, and White racial groups. The CPS does not use separate population controls for weighting the Asian sample to national totals.

Graphs & Charts


Detailed Tables

Historical Tables

August 2003
August 2005