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Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2006

Report Number P60-233
Carmen DeNavas-Walt, Bernadette D. Proctor, and Jessica Smith


This report presents data on income, poverty, and health insurance coverage in the United States based on information collected in the 2007 and earlier Annual Social and Economic Supplements (ASEC) to the Current Population Survey (CPS) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Data presented in this report indicate the following:

  • Real median household income increased between 2005 and 2006 for the second consecutive year.1
  • The poverty rate decreased between 2005 and 2006.
  • The number of people with health insurance coverage increased between 2005 and 2006, as did the number and the percentage of people without health insurance coverage.

These results were not uniform across demographic groups. For example, between 2005 and 2006, the median income of White households rose, but it remained statistically unchanged for the remaining race groups and Hispanics; the poverty rate decreased for Hispanics but remained statistically unchanged for non-Hispanic Whites, Blacks, and Asians; and percentage of people without health insurance increased for Hispanics, decreased for Asians, and remained ;statistically unchanged for non-Hispanic Whites and Blacks.2,3

These results are discussed in more detail in the three main sections of this report —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 year-round, full-time workers; families in poverty; and health insurance coverage of children. This report concludes with a section discussing health insurance coverage by state using 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. The Census Bureau will release the 2006 data on alternative measures of income and poverty, which reflect the effects of taxes and selected noncash benefits, at a later date. (For 2005 alternative measures of income and poverty estimates, see The Effect of Taxes and Transfers on Income and Poverty in the United States: 2005, U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, P60-232, March 2007.

1 All income values are adjusted to reflect 2006 dollars. “Real” refers to income after adjusting for inflation. The adjustment is based on percentage changes in prices between earlier years and 2006 and is computed by dividing the annual average Consumer Price Index Research Series (CPI-U-RS) for 2006 by the annual average for earlier years. The CPI-U-RS values for 1947 to 2006 are available in Appendix A and on the Internet at <>. Inflation between 2005 and 2006 was 3.3 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 maybe 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 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.

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 12.7 percent of White householders who reported only one race, 3.1 percent of Black householders who reported only one race, and 1.4 percent of Asian householders who reported only one race.

Data users should exercise caution when interpreting aggregate results for the Hispanic population or for race groups because these populations consist of many distinct groups that differ in socioeconomic characteristics, culture, and recency of immigration. In addition, the CPS does not use separate population controls for weighting the Asian sample to national totals. Data were first collected for Hispanics in 1972 and for Asians and Pacific Islanders in 1987. For further information, see <>.

3 The householder is the person (or one of the people) in whose name the home is owned or rented and the person to whom the relationship of other household members is recorded. If a married couple owns the home jointly, either the husband or the wife may be listed as the householder. Since only one person in each household is designated as the householder, the number of householders is equal to the number of households. This report uses the characteristics of the householder to describe the household.

User Note

The 2004 and 2005 data were revised after originally published.


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