Introducing a new way to navigate by topics. Access the latest news, data, publications and more around topics of interest.
Our population statistics cover age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, migration, ancestry, language use, veterans, as well as population estimates and projections.
This section provides information on a range of educational topics, from educational attainment and school enrollment to school districts, costs and financing.
We measure the state of the nations workforce, including employment and unemployment levels, weeks and hours worked, occupations, and commuting.
Our statistics highlight trends in household and family composition, describe characteristics of the residents of housing units, and show how they are related.
Health statistics on insurance coverage, disability, fertility and other health issues are increasingly important in measuring the nation's overall well-being.
We measure the housing and construction industry, track homeownership rates, and produce statistics on the physical and financial characteristics of our homes.
The U.S. Census Bureau is the official source for U.S. export and import statistics and regulations governing the reporting of exports from the U.S.
The U.S. Census Bureau provides data for the Federal, state and local governments as well as voting, redistricting, apportionment and congressional affairs.
Search an alphabetical index of keywords and phrases to access Census Bureau statistics, publications, products, services, data, and data tools.
Geography provides the framework for Census Bureau survey design, sample selection, data collection, tabulation, and dissemination.
Geography is central to the work of the Bureau, providing the framework for survey design, sample selection, data collection, tabulation, and dissemination.
Find resources on how to use geographic data and products with statistical data, educational blog postings, and presentations.
The Geographic Support System Initiative will integrate improved address coverage, spatial feature updates, and enhanced quality assessment and measurement.
Work with interactive mapping tools from across the Census Bureau.
Find geographic data and products such as Shapefiles, KMLs, TIGERweb, boundary files, geographic relationship files, and reference and thematic maps.
Metropolitan and micropolitan areas are geographic entities used by Federal statistical agencies in collecting, tabulating, and publishing Federal statistics.
Find information about specific partnership programs and learn more about our partnerships with other organizations.
Definitions of geographic terms, why geographic areas are defined, and how the Census Bureau defines geographic areas.
We conduct research on geographic topics such as how to define geographic areas and how geography changes over time.
Visit our library of Census Bureau multimedia files. Collection formats include audio, video, mobile apps, images, and publications.
Official audio files from the Census Bureau, including "Profile America," a daily series of bite-sized statistics, placing current data in a historical context.
Infographics include information on the Census Bureau's history of data collection, our nation's veterans and the American Community Survey.
Stock photos that illustrate official Census Bureau operations and activities.
Read briefs and reports from Census Bureau experts.
Watch Census Bureau vignettes, testimonials, and video files.
Read research analyses from Census Bureau experts.
Access data through products and tools including data visualizations, mobile apps, interactive web apps and other software.
Developer portal to access services and documentation for the Census Bureau's APIs.
Explore Census Bureau data on your mobile device with interactive tools.
Find a multitude of DVDs, CDs and publications in print by topic.
These external sites provide more data.
Download extraction tools to help you get the in-depth data you need.
Learn more about our data from this collection of e-tutorials, presentations, webinars and other training materials. Sign up for training sessions.
Explore Census data with interactive visualizations covering a broad range of topics.
Learn how we serve the public as the most reliable source of data about the nation's people and economy.
Information about the U.S. Census Bureau.
Information about what we do at the U.S. Census Bureau.
Our researchers explore innovative ways to conduct surveys, increase respondent participation, reduce costs, and improve accuracy.
Our surveys provide periodic and comprehensive statistics about the nation, critical for government programs, policies, and decisionmaking.
Learn about other opportunities to collaborate with us.
Explore the rich historical background of an organization with roots almost as old as the nation.
Explore prospective positions available at the U.S. Census Bureau.
Information about the current field vacancies available at the U.S. Census Bureau Regional Offices.
Discover the latest in Census Bureau data releases, reports, and events.
The Census Bureau's Director writes on how we measure America's people, places and economy.
Find interesting and quirky statistics regarding national celebrations and major events.
Profile America is a daily, 60-second feature that uses interesting vignettes for that day to highlight information collected by the Census Bureau.
Find media toolkits, advisories, and all the latest Census news.
See what's coming up in releases and reports.
Absolute poverty thresholds vs. relative poverty thresholds
As explained by a National Academy of Sciences panel, "Absolute thresholds are fixed at a point in time and updated solely for price changes.... In contrast, relative thresholds, as commonly defined, are developed by reference to the actual expenditures (or income) of the population." See Citro and Michael, eds., Measuring Poverty: A New Approach (National Academy Press, 1995), page 31, "Types of Poverty Thresholds."
Annual poverty rate
Percent of people who were in poverty in a calendar year. Annual poverty rates from the Current Population Survey and the decennial census long form are based on income reported at an annual figure. In the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), income is reported a few months at a time, several times a year. Therefore, in the SIPP, annual poverty rates are calculated using the sum of family income over the year divided by the sum of poverty thresholds that can change from month to month if one's family composition changes.
Average monthly poverty
Average percent of people poor per month in each year of a longitudinal survey panel. See also longitudinal survey data.
Chronic or long-term poverty
Percent of people in poverty every month for the duration of a longitudinal survey panel (typically 3 to 4 years). See also longitudinal survey data.
Cross-sectional survey data
Data from a survey in which a new group of respondents is sampled for each interview, instead of following the same group of respondents over time. The Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC), the American Community Survey (ACS), and the decennial census long form are cross-sectional surveys. See also longitudinal survey data.
Percent of people who were not in poverty during the first year of a longitudinal survey. but were in poverty in a subsequent year. Uses an annual poverty measure.
Percent of people who were poor in 2 or more consecutive months in a given time period. Episodic poverty can only be computed using longitudinal survey data.
Federal Poverty Level (FPL)
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, "The poverty guidelines are sometimes loosely referred to as the 'federal poverty level' (FPL), but that phrase is ambiguous and should be avoided, especially in situations (e.g., legislative or administrative) where precision is important." [http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/05poverty.shtml, last accessed May 24, 2005.] See also HHS poverty guidelines.
The Gini ratio (or index of income concentration) is a statistical measure of income equality ranging from 0 to 1. A measure of 1 indicates perfect inequality; i.e., one person has all the income and rest have none. A measure of 0 indicates perfect equality; i.e., all people have equal shares of income. The Census Bureau used grouped data to compute all Gini ratios. For a more detailed discussion, see Current Population Reports, Series P-60, No. 123.
Income deficit/income surplus
Income deficit is the number of dollars that the income of a family in poverty (or unrelated individual) falls below its poverty threshold. If income is negative, the deficit equals the threshold. Income surplus is the difference in dollars between the income of a family or unrelated individual above the poverty level and its poverty threshold.
See ratio of income to poverty.
Longitudinal survey data
Data from a survey in which the same respondents are interviewed multiple times, using the same set of questions, over a period of time (a panel). The Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) is a longitudinal survey. While cross-sectional data have been compared to "snapshots" in that differences between two cross-sectional estimates are based on two different samples of people, longitudinal data instead allow the analyst to observe how the status of the same group of people changes over time--for instance, by observing the average number of months a person falls below the poverty level, or by observing the demographic characteristics of people who enter and leave poverty. In that sense, longitudinal data have been compared to "videos." See, for instance, Mary Naifeh, "Dynamics of Economic Well-Being, Poverty, 1993-94: Trap Door? Revolving Door? Or Both?"
See chronic or long-term poverty.
Median income is the amount which divides the income distribution into two equal groups, half having incomes above the median, half having incomes below the median. The medians for households, families, and unrelated individuals are based on all households, families, and unrelated individuals, respectively. The medians for people are based on people 15 years old and over with income.
See average monthly poverty.
National Academy of Sciences (NAS) panel
The National Research Council's Panel on Poverty and Family Assistance: Concepts, Information Needs, and Measurement Methods. A group of scholars who co-authored a publication in 1995, Measuring Poverty: A New Approach (National Academy Press, 1995), that recommended alternative methods for measuring poverty. The Census Bureau has conducted research to refine some of the panel's measurement methods and to examine how its recommendations would affect the number in poverty and the poverty rate. (For further information, see Poverty Measurement Studies and Alternative Measures.)
Following the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Statistical Policy Directive 14, the Census Bureau uses a set of money income thresholds that vary by family size and composition to determine who is in poverty. If a family's total income is less than the family's threshold, then that family and every individual in it is considered in poverty. The official poverty thresholds do not vary geographically, but they are updated for inflation using Consumer Price Index (CPI-U). The official poverty definition uses money income before taxes and does not include capital gains or noncash benefits (such as public housing, Medicaid, and food stamps).
Poverty in the past 12 months
The American Community Survey measures poverty in the previous 12 months instead of the previous calendar year. For more information, see ACS poverty definition.
Number of months in poverty as measured using panel data from a longitudinal survey (excluding spells underway in the first interview month of the panel). Minimum spell length is 2 months. Spells are separated by 2 or more months of not being in poverty. Individuals can have more than one spell.
Persons for whom the Census Bureau can determine poverty status (either "in poverty" or "not in poverty"). For some persons, such as unrelated individuals under age 15, poverty status is not defined. Since Census Bureau surveys typically ask income questions to persons age 15 or older, if a child under age 15 is not related by birth, marriage, or adoption to a reference person within the household, we do not know the child's income and therefore cannot determine his or her poverty status. For the decennial censuses and the American Community Survey, poverty status is also undefined for people living in college dormitories and in institutional group quarters. People whose poverty status is undefined are excluded from Census Bureau poverty tabulations. Thus, the total population in poverty tables--the poverty universe--is slightly smaller than the overall population.
Ratio of income to poverty
People and families are classified as being in poverty if their income is less than their poverty threshold. If their income is less than half their poverty threshold, they are below 50% of poverty; less than the threshold itself, they are in poverty (below 100% of poverty); less than 1.25 times the threshold, below 125% of poverty, and so on. The greater the ratio of income to poverty, the more people fall under the category, because higher ratios include more people with higher incomes.
Relative poverty thresholds
See absolute poverty thresholds vs. relative poverty thresholds.
Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates
The Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) program produces estimates of income and poverty for states and counties, and population and poverty for school districts. The estimates are provided for the administration of federal programs and the allocation of federal funds to local jurisdictions.
Spells of poverty
See poverty spell.
See poverty threshold.