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Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2004

Report Number P60-229
Carmen DeNavas-Walt, Bernadette D. Proctor, and Cheryl Hill Lee
Component ID: #ti800918654

Introduction

This report presents data on income, poverty, and health insurance coverage in the United States based on information collected in the 2005 and earlier Annual Social and Economic Supplements (ASEC) to the Current Population Survey (CPS) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Real median household income showed no change between 2003 and 2004.1 Both the number of people in poverty and the poverty rate increased between 2003 and 2004. The number of people without health insurance coverage, as well as the number of people with health insurance coverage increased between 2003 and 2004, while the percentages with and without health insurance coverage showed no change between 2003 and 2004. These results were not uniform across demographic groups. For example, Blacks and Hispanics experienced no change in poverty, and Asians had an increase in health insurance coverage.2

This report has three main sections—income, poverty, and health insurance coverage. Each one presents estimates by characteristics such as race, Hispanic origin, nativity, and region. Other topics include earnings of full-time, year-round workers; poverty among families; and health insurance coverage of children. This report does not include data by metropolitan area status due to the transition from a 1990-based sample design to a Census 2000-based sample design. The 2005 ASEC sample is a mixture of both sample designs, which used different definitions of metropolitan areas. The report concludes with a section discussing income, poverty, and health insurance coverage for states using 2- and 3-year averages.

The income and poverty estimates shown in this report are based solely on money income before taxes and do not include the value of noncash benefits such as food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, public housing, and employer-provided fringe benefits. Later this year, the Census Bureau will release detailed tables on alternative measures of income and poverty, which include taxes and selected noncash benefits.

The CPS is one of the longest running surveys conducted by the Census Bureau. The CPS ASEC asks detailed questions about income from over 50 sources. The key purpose of the CPS ASEC is to provide timely and detailed estimates of income, poverty, and health insurance coverage and to measure change for those estimates at both the national and state level.

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1 All income values are adjusted to reflect 2004 dollars. “Real” refers to comparisons of income after adjusting for inflation. The adjustment is based on percentage changes in prices between earlier years and 2004 and is computed by dividing the annual average Consumer Price Index for 2004 by the annual average for earlier years. The CPI-U values for 1947 to 2004 are available in Appendix A. Inflation between 2003 and 2004 was 2.7 percent.

2 Federal surveys now give respondents the option of reporting more than one race. Therefore, two basic ways of defining a race group are possible. A group such as Asian may be defined as those who reported Asian and no other race (the race-alone or single-race concept) or as those who reported Asian regardless of whether they also reported another race (the race-alone-or-in-combination concept). The body of this report (text, figures, and text tables) shows data using the first approach (race alone). The appendix tables show data using both approaches. Use of the single-race population does not imply that it is the preferred method of presenting or analyzing data. The Census Bureau uses a variety of approaches.

Unless footnoted to the contrary, all comparative statements regarding race in the text (which are based on the race-alone concept) are also true in terms of statistical significance for the race-alone-or-in-combination concept.

In this report, the term “non-Hispanic White” refers to people who are not Hispanic and who reported White and no other race. The Census Bureau uses non-Hispanic Whites as the comparison group for other race groups and Hispanics.

Because Hispanics may be any race, data in this report for Hispanics overlap with data for racial groups. Being Hispanic was reported by 12.1 percent of White householders who reported only one race, 2.9 percent of Black householders who reported only one race, 27.7 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native householders who reported only one race, and 9.5 percent of Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander householders who reported only one race.

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