U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Skip Header

The Changing Shape of the Nation's Income Distribution: 1947-1998

Written by:


  • Using annual estimates, about 21.6 (± 1.9) percent of people who were poor in 1992 were not poor in 1993.1 Children and the elderly were less likely to exit poverty than nonelderly adults.
  • A noticeable proportion of the population was poor on a chronic basis 4.8 (± 0.3) percent or 11.9 (± 0.7) million people were poor all 24 months of 1992 and 1993.
  • One-half of all poverty spells lasted 4.9 months or longer, but Blacks had significantly longer poverty than 6.2 months, compared with 4.6 months for Whites.


  1. The figures in parentheses signify the 90-percent confidence intervals of the estimates.

Accuracy Statement

All statistics are subject to sampling error, as well as nonsampling error such as survey design flaws, respondent classification and reporting errors, data processing mistakes, and undercoverage. The Census Bureau has taken steps to minimize errors in the form of quality control and edit procedures to reduce errors made by respondents, coders, and interviewers. Ratio estimation to independent age-race-sex population controls partially corrects for bias attributable to survey undercoverage. However, biases exist in the estimates when missed people have characteristics different from those of interviewed people in the same age-race-sex group.

Analytical statements in this report have been tested and meet statistical standards. However, because of methodological differences, use caution when comparing these data with data from other sources. More detailed tabulations on these measures can be found at the Census Bureau's internet site at https://www.census.gov.

Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
Is this page helpful?
Thumbs Up Image Yes Thumbs Down Image No
255 characters maximum 255 characters maximum reached
Thank you for your feedback.
Comments or suggestions?


Back to Header