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Report Number P60-29

Average (median) family income in the United States was estimated at $5,000 in 1957, a gain of about $200, or 4 percent, over the previous year, according to estimates released today by the Bureau of the Census, Department of Commerce. This increase probably represented no significant change in purchasing power for the average family, however, since prices also rose substantially during this period.1

The average income of nonfarm families rose by about 3 percent over the year, largely because of further increases in wage rates in most industries. In the case of the farm population, other evidence indicates that a rise in income over the year was due partly to increased earnings from nonfarm work. A growing number of farm families derive at least part of their income from employment off the farm.

One-tenth of the Nation's families received incomes of $10,000 or more, while an additional two-fifths had incomes ranging between $5,000 and $10,000. At the other end of the income scale, about 15 percent had incomes under $2,000. The remaining 35 percent were in the $2,000-$5,000 bracket. The distribution of families (groups of two or more related persons) by their income in 1957 is shown in the table.

1 The Consumer Price Index of the Department of Labor averaged 116.2 in 1956 and 120.2 in 1957.

A Note on Language

Census statistics date back to 1790 and reflect the growth and change of the United States. Past census reports contain some terms that today’s readers may consider obsolete and inappropriate. As part of our goal to be open and transparent with the public, we are improving access to all Census Bureau original publications and statistics, which serve as a guide to the nation's history.

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