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Report Number P60-116


In the 1980 census, the Bureau plans to discontinue the use of the terms "head of family" and "head of household." In this report, the term "householder" has been used in the text in place of the term "head." For technical reasons, however, the term head appears in the detailed tables. Further discussion of these changes can be found in the section, "Head versus Householder."


The median income of all families in the United States was $16,010 in 1977, according to results of the Current Population Survey (CPS) conducted in March 1978 by the Bureau of the Census. Median family income in 1977 was 7 percent higher than the 1976 median ($14,960). However, after adjusting for the 6.5-percent increase in prices between 1976 and 1977,1 there was no statistically significant change in real median family income for that period. The survey also indicated that there were about 24.7 million persons below the poverty level in 1977 comprising 11.6 percent of the U.S. population.2 The size of the poverty population did not change significantly from the 1976 level. The poverty threshold for a nonfarm family of four was $6,191 in 1977.

1 The percentage increase in prices between 1976 and 1977 is computed by dividing the annual average Consumer Price Index (CPI) for 1977 by the annual average value of the CPI for 1976.
2 See page 29 for an explanation of the poverty concept.

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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