Income, Earnings, and Poverty Data From the 2005 American Community Survey

August 2006
Report Number: ACS-02
Bruce H. Webster Jr. and Alemayehu Bishaw


This report looks at data on income, earnings, and poverty based on the 2005 American Community Survey (ACS), which provides a measure of the country’s economic well-being.  This report uses the unique ability of the ACS to produce estimates of detailed socioeconomic characteristics for the United States, states, and lower levels of geography.

The U.S. Census Bureau also reports income and poverty data based on the Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) to the Current Population Survey (CPS). Following the standard specifi ed by the Offi ce of Management and Budget (OMB) in Statistical Policy Directive 14, the Census Bureau computes offi cial national pov-erty rates using the CPS ASEC and reports that data in the publication Income, Poverty, and Health Insur-ance Coverage in the United States: 2005. In previous years, the CPS ASEC report included state data on income and poverty. This year, with the expansion of the ACS to approximately 3 million addresses in 2005 and the lower standard errors that result from that sample size and design, the Census Bureau is focusing on the annual state esti-mates of median household income and poverty from the ACS. The ACS also has the capability to produce annual income and poverty estimates for counties and places with populations of 65,000 or more.

Since 2005 was the first year that the ACS was fully implemented, this report will not make comparisons with previous years. Historical trend data on state median household income and poverty from the CPS ASEC are available on the Internet.

The Census Bureau also produces annual estimates of median household income and poverty for the states, as well as for counties and school districts, based on models using data from the CPS ASEC, the decennial census, administrative records, and personal income data published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The model-based estimates are more accurate than the CPS ASEC estimates, but are released later due to lags in the availability of administrative records. Estimates for 2003 are available on the Internet at
<>. Estimates for 2004 will be available in fall 2006.

August 2005
February 2007