Skip Header
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Updating the Current Population Survey Processing System and Bridging Differences in the Measurement of Poverty

Working Paper Number SEHSD-WP2019-05
Ashley Edwards and John Creamer


The Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) to the Current Population Survey (CPS) is the official source of poverty estimates for the United States. In 2014, the Census Bureau introduced redesigned income questions, followed by changes beginning in 2015 to allow spouses and unmarried partners to specifically identify as opposite- or same-sex. While data collection methods reflected these changes immediately, data processing changes to take advantage of this new content have only recently been finalized.

In September of 2019, the Census Bureau will release income and poverty estimates in the annual report Income and Poverty in the United States: 2018 where, for the first time, income and poverty measures will reflect these methodological changes.

This paper will compare poverty estimates for calendar year 2016 across the production and research files of the CPS ASEC, evaluating the incremental impact of changes in both the demographic and income content on poverty rates across demographic groups. Presenting this research at the April meeting of the Population Association of America allows data users to understand the motivation, impact, and interpretation of these data processing changes on estimates of income and poverty in the United States.

Related Information


Back to Header