This report presents estimates on income, earnings, and inequality in the United States for calendar year 2021, based on information collected in the 2022 and earlier Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplements (CPS ASEC) conducted by the Census Bureau. Estimates for 2020 in this report will not match those published last year due to the implementation of the 2020 Census-based population controls. Appendix B provides details.
The income estimates in the main sections of this report are based on the concept of money income, as measured by the CPS ASEC. It includes all income received by each person in the household who is aged 15 and older, excluding certain receipts such as capital gains. Money income is pretax and does not include stimulus payments and tax credits such as those from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Appendix A provides a detailed explanation of how income is measured using the CPS ASEC. For post-tax household income estimates that include stimulus payments and tax credits, refer to Appendix C.
To adjust for changes in the cost of living over time, historical income estimates in this report are expressed in real or 2021 dollars. This inflation adjustment is based on the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers Retroactive Series (R-CPI-U-RS) for 2021 and earlier years, which measured a 4.7 percent increase in consumer prices between 2020 and 2021. More information on the R-CPI-U-RS and the index values for 1947 to 2021 are available in Appendix A. For an in-depth discussion of the effects of using different inflation indices on household income estimates, and information on a proposed change to the index used in this report, refer to Appendix D.
For information on confidentiality protection, sampling error, nonsampling error, and definitions, see https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/cps/techdocs/cpsmar22.pdf [PDF - <1.0 MB].
The Census Bureau reviewed this data product for unauthorized disclosure of confidential information and approved the disclosure avoidance practices applied to this release. CBDRB-FY22-357.
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