The income estimates compiled from the March 1977 Current Population Survey (CPS) were obtained from an expanded sample of households. This sample consisted of 65,500 housing units, approximately 10,500 more housing units than were used to develop income estimates from the March 1976 CPS. Further discussion of the sample expansion and other modifications to the income data can be found in the section, "New Procedures Used in the March 1977 CPS."
The median money income of households in the United States rose to $12,690 in 1976, an increase of about 8 percent over the 1975 median of $11,800. Although most of this increase was eroded by rising prices, the net gain in real purchasing power was still statistically significant. After adjusting for the 6 percent rise in prices between 1975 and 1976,1 the 1976 median in terms of constant dollars increased by about 2 percent over the 1975 median.
The increase in real median household income between 1975 and 1976 reflected the recovery of the economy from the recent recession and the abatement of high-level inflation. The improved position of the economy was indicated by a 6 percent increase in the real Gross National Product between 1975 and 1976.2 During the same period, the average annual unemployment rate for the Nation decreased from 8.5 percent in 1975 to 7.7 percent in 1976.3
The increase of 2 percent in real median household income between 1975 and 1976 marks a reversal from the downward trend that had prevailed since 1973. Real median household income decreased by 5 percent between 1973 and 1974 and 3 percent between 1974 and 1975. However, the 1976 median household income of $12,690 was still lower, in terms of 1976 constant dollars, than the peak of $13,470 in 1973.
1 The percentage increase in prices between 1975 and 1976 is computed by dividing the annual average Consumer Price Index (CPI) for 1976 by the annual average value of the CPI for 1975.
2 U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Survey of Current Business, Volume 57, Number 3. p. 5.
3 U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment and Earnings, Volume 24, Number 2, p. 23.
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.
Others in Series
Income and Poverty Status of Families & Persons: 1976 (Advance Report)
This report presents advance statistics on money income and poverty status in 1976 of families and persons in the United States.
Household Money Income in 1975, by Housing Tenure and Residence
This report presents estimates of household money income in 1975 for the United States, regions, divisions, and States.
Income of Persons in the United States: 1951
Percent of aggregate income received by wage or salary recipients ranked by income, median earnings and source of income, by age and sex.