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For Immediate Release: Thursday, September 14, 2017

New American Community Survey Statistics for Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Available for States and Local Areas

Press Release Number CB17-157

Statistics for More Than 40 Demographic and Economic Topics Provide Detailed Profiles of Communities Nationwide

SEPT. 14, 2017 The U.S. Census Bureau today released its most detailed look at America’s people, places and economy with new statistics on income, poverty, health insurance and more than 40 other topics from the American Community Survey.

Many states saw an increase in income and a decrease in poverty rates between 2015 and 2016. During that same period, the percentage of people covered by health insurance increased in most of the largest 25 metropolitan areas. The findings are from the Census Bureau’s 2016 American Community Survey, the nation’s most comprehensive information source on American households. Today’s release provides statistics on more than 40 social, economic and housing topics for U.S. communities with populations of 65,000 or more. 

“The American Community Survey allows us to track incremental changes across our nation on how the nation’s people live and work, year-to-year,” Census Bureau Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division Chief David Waddington said. “It’s our country’s only source of small area estimates for social and demographic characteristics. These estimates help people, businesses and governments throughout the country better understand the needs of their populations, the markets in which they operate and the challenges and opportunities they face.”

Below are some of the local-level income, poverty and health insurance statistics from the American Community Survey that complement the national-level statistics released earlier this week from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. The Current Population Survey is the leading source for national-level data, and the American Community Survey is the leading source for community and local-level data. For more information on the topics included in the American Community Survey, ranging from educational attainment to computer use to commuting, please visit census.gov. To access the full set of statistics released today, please visit American FactFinder.


  • Between 2015 and 2016, 30 states showed an increase in real median household income. Pennsylvania (1.2 percent) had one of the smallest increases and Idaho (6.3 percent) had one of the largest increases. (“Real” refers to income after adjusting for inflation.)
  • Alaska, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey had among the highest median household incomes for 2016.
  • Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and West Virginia had the lowest median household incomes for 2016.
  • Median household income was lower than the U.S. median in 28 states and higher than the U.S. median in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Visit the news graphic to see where the rest of the states fall.
  • Median household income increased in 21 of the 25 most populous metropolitan areas between 2015 and 2016. Median household income did not decline in any of the 25 most populous metropolitan areas.
  • For all metropolitan statistical areas, the median household income in 2016 was $60,542.  This was a 2.7 percent increase from the 2015 median of $58,938.
  • Among the 25 most populous metropolitan areas, the San Francisco metropolitan area ($96,667) and the Washington, DC, metropolitan area ($95,843) had the highest median incomes, while the Tampa ($51,115), Miami ($51,362) and Orlando ($52,385) metropolitan areas had the lowest. Differences in the median incomes of the San Francisco metropolitan area and the Washington, DC, metropolitan area were not statistically significant. The median household income for the Miami metropolitan area was not statistically different from the median household incomes for the Tampa or Orlando metropolitan areas. 

Income Inequality

  • The Gini index is a standard economic measure of income inequality. A score of 0.0 is perfect equality in income distribution. A score of 1.0 indicates total inequality where one household has all of the income.
  • Five states, (California, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana and New York), the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico had Gini indices higher than the U.S. index number (0.482).  Nine were not statistically different from the U.S. index number; the remaining 36 were lower.
  • Most states experienced no statistical change in income inequality. Income inequality increased in three states (Louisiana, West Virginia and Wisconsin) and decreased in two (Alaska and Massachusetts).  


  • Between 2015 and 2016, poverty rates declined in 24 states. The poverty rate increased in Vermont from 10.2 percent to 11.9 percent, the only state to show an increase.
  • States with poverty rates of 18.0 percent or higher included: the District of Columbia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and New Mexico. States that had poverty rates below 11.0 percent included: Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota and Utah. Visit the news graphic to see where the rest of the states fall.
  • From 2015 to 2016, the poverty rate decreased in 17 of the 25 most populous metropolitan areas. Poverty did not increase in any of the 25 most populous metropolitan areas. 

Health Insurance

  • In 2016, the health insurance coverage rate was 91.6 percent for the population living inside metropolitan areas and 90.5 percent for the population living outside metropolitan areas.
  • Between 2015 and 2016, the health insurance coverage rate increased by 0.8 percentage points for the population living inside metropolitan areas and by 0.7 percentage points for the population living outside metropolitan areas, which were not statistically different. In 2016, the Boston metropolitan area had the highest health insurance coverage rate (97.2 percent) among the most populous 25 metropolitan areas, and the Houston metropolitan area had the lowest rate (82.8 percent).
  • Between 2015 and 2016, the percentage of people covered by health insurance increased in 19 of the 25 most populous metropolitan areas. The change in the rate of coverage ranged from 0.5 percentage points to 1.7 percentage points. The remaining 6 most populous metro areas showed no significant change.
  • Between 2013 and 2016, Miami, Los Angeles and Riverside metropolitan areas experienced the largest increases in the rate of health insurance coverage among the most populous metropolitan areas. Their rates of health insurance coverage increased by 10.0 percentage points or more.
  • National and state-level health insurance data from the Current Population Survey and American Community Survey were released earlier.

Additional Topics and Findings Released Today From the American Community Survey

New Language Code Tables

The percentage of the nation’s population age 5 and older speaking a language other than English at home was 21.6 percent in 2016.

New language data shows Spanish was by far the largest non-English language in 2016, spoken at home by 40.5 million people, or 13.3 percent of the population age 5 and older, followed by Chinese with nearly 3.4 million speakers at home and Tagalog with 1.7 million speakers at home.

Languages are grouped in the American FactFinder tool in the revised Table B16001 that tabulates languages based on the top 42 language categories. New language data is now available for Haitian, Punjabi, Bengali, Telugu and Tamil. They previously fell under the “French Creole,” “Other Indic languages” and “Other Asian languages” categories.

New Data Exploration Platform

The U.S. Census Bureau is currently working to streamline online data dissemination to be more customer-driven and user friendly by creating one centralized and standardized platform to underlie the search on census.gov. Beginning September 14, some 2016 American Community Survey statistics, including detailed tables, data profiles, subject tables, and comparison profiles, will be available on the preview site at data.census.gov, in parallel with the data released on American Factfinder. We encourage you to take a look at data.census.gov and provide your thoughts on our work in progress at cedsci.feedback@census.gov

New Data Visualization Tools

The U.S. Census Bureau has a new way for people to explore ACS data through two new data visualization tools.

The ACS Data Wheel allows users to explore ACS data for all 50 states.

The Data Wheel Dashboard includes a bar graph and map of the U.S. highlighting ACS characteristics for all 50 states. 

Additional Annual Releases

2016 American Community Survey Supplemental Tables

On Oct. 19, the Census Bureau will release American Community Survey supplemental tables. These tables contain high level statistics for communities with populations of 20,000 or more, compared to the 65,000 population minimum for the standard American Community Survey one-year statistics.

2012-2016 American Community Survey Statistics

On Dec. 7, the Census Bureau will release American Community Survey five-year statistics (2012-2016), which are available for all geographic areas regardless of population size, down to the block-group level. A media embargo begins Dec. 5. A prerelease technical webinar will take place prior to the release. 

About the American Community Survey

The American Community Survey provides a wide range of important statistics about all communities in the United States. The American Community Survey gives communities the current information they need to plan investments and services. Retailers, homebuilders, fire departments, and town and city planners are among the many private- and public-sector decision-makers who count on these annual results. Visit the Stats in Action page to see some examples.

These statistics would not be possible without the participation of the randomly selected households throughout the country in the survey.


Note: Statistics from sample surveys are subject to sampling and nonsampling error. All comparisons made in the reports have been tested and found to be statistically significant at the 90 percent confidence level, unless otherwise noted. Please consult the tables for specific margins of error. For more information, go to <www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/technical-documentation/code-lists.html>.

Changes in survey design from year-to-year can affect results. For more information on changes affecting the 2016 statistics, see <www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/news/data-releases/2016.html>.

For guidance on comparing 2016 American Community Survey statistics with previous years and the 2010 Census, see <www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/guidance/comparing-acs-data.html>.


Dan Velez/Amy Newcomb/Virginia Hyer 
Public Information Office

Page Last Revised - December 16, 2021
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