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For Immediate Release: Thursday, September 17, 2020

2019 American Community Survey Statistics for Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Available for States and Local Areas

Press Release Number CB20-144

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

SEPT. 17, 2020  The U.S. Census Bureau today released a detailed look at America’s people, places and economy with statistics on income, poverty, health insurance, employment, families and more than 40 other topics from the American Community Survey (ACS). It is important to note that data for the 2019 ACS was collected prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and therefore does not reflect the economic changes that began in February 2020.

Many large metropolitan areas saw an increase in income and a decrease in poverty rates between 2018 and 2019. Young adults 26 years old had the highest uninsured rate among all single years of age. Today’s release provides statistics for U.S. communities with populations of 65,000 or more.

“American Community Survey estimates serve as ‘America's mirror’ by providing a detailed look at how communities are changing and what must be done to meet the unique needs of their residents,” explained Donna Daily, chief, American Community Survey Office. “People across the nation use ACS estimates to make critical planning decisions every year, including how to respond to emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, this data can serve as a pre-crisis benchmark for future research.”

Below are some of the local-level income, poverty and health insurance statistics from the ACS that complement the national-level Current Population Survey (CPS) statistics released on Tuesday, Sept. 15. The ACS is the leading source for community and local-level data.


"Real" median household income is adjusted for inflation. The 2018 estimates provided here are inflation-adjusted to 2019 dollars using the Consumer Price Index Research Series from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and are in "real" terms. This allows income to be compared accurately over time.

  • The 2019 U.S. median household income was $65,712. Real median household income in the United States increased 4.5% between the 2018 and 2019 ACS.
  • Real median household income in the 2019 ACS increased from 2018 for 39 states and the District of Columbia. There were no states with a significant decrease. Eleven states and Puerto Rico had a median household income that was not statistically different from 2018.
  • Median household income was lower than the U.S. median in 30 states and Puerto Rico. It was higher than the U.S. median in 18 states and the District of Columbia. Wyoming and North Dakota had medians not statistically different from the U.S. median.
  • Median household income increased in 23 of the 25 most populous metropolitan areas between 2018 and 2019. None of these 25 metropolitan areas experienced a statistically significant decrease.

Income Inequality

The Gini index is a standard economic measure of income inequality. It measures the amount that any two incomes differ, on average, relative to average income. It is a natural indicator of how far apart or “spread out” incomes are from one another. A value of 0 represents perfect equality, and a value of 1 indicates total inequality.

  • The Gini index for the United States in the 2019 ACS (0.481) was lower than the 2018 ACS estimate.
  • California, Connecticut, Louisiana, New York, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico had Gini indexes higher than the United States. Nine states were not statistically different from the U.S. Gini index; 37 states were lower.
  • 34 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico experienced no statistical change in income inequality between 2018 and 2019. Income inequality decreased in 15 states and increased in Indiana from 2018 to 2019.


  • In 2019, the ACS national poverty rate was 12.3%, a decline from 13.1% in 2018. The 0.8 percentage-point decrease in the percent of the U.S. population with income below the poverty level was among the largest declines in year-to-year poverty rates since the inception of the ACS in 2005. The ACS national poverty rate is the lowest rate since the inception of the ACS.
  • The poverty rate declined in nearly half of all states (23 states and the District of Columbia) between 2018 and 2019. Poverty rates did not increase in any state from 2018 to 2019.
  • In 15 of the 25 most populous metropolitan areas, the poverty rate declined between 2018 and 2019. None of the 25 most populous metropolitan areas saw poverty increase in 2019.
  • In 2019, the proportion of people with income below 50% of their poverty threshold declined nationally from 5.9% to 5.5%.
  • The percentage of people in the United States with income less than 125% of their poverty threshold declined to 16.3% in 2019, from 17.4% in 2018.

Health Insurance

All health insurance estimates are for the civilian noninstitutional population.

  • In 2019, 9.2% of people, or 29.6 million, were not covered by health insurance at the time of interview, according to the ACS, up from 8.9% and 28.6 million.
  • Between 2018 and 2019, the percentage of people without health insurance coverage decreased in one state and increased in 19 states.
  • In 2019, 15.6% of young adults ages 19 to 34 were uninsured; higher than the uninsured rate for children under the age of 19 (5.7%), other working-age adults 35 to 64 years (11.3%), and adults 65 and older (0.8%).
  • Young adults 26 years old had the highest uninsured rate among all single years of age, at 18.3% in 2019.
  • The percentage of uninsured young adults increased in 10 states and decreased in four states between 2018 and 2019.

Families and Households

The revised relationship to householder question was implemented for the first time in 2019. To improve measurement of coupled households, especially for same-sex married couples, the Census Bureau has been working to implement the revised question in all of its major demographic surveys. The revised question includes specific answer categories for “opposite-sex husband/wife/spouse; same-sex husband/wife/spouse; opposite-sex unmarried partner; and same-sex unmarried partner.” The change to the relationship question on the ACS was based on research from the CPS. For more information on the testing, see the working paper, Updates to Collection and Editing of Household Relationship Measures, which addresses data collection and processing in the CPS.  

  • In 2019, about 980,000 households in the United States were same-sex couple households; approximately 58% were married couples and about 42% were unmarried partner households.
  • Among both married and unmarried same-sex couples, there were more female-couple households than male-couple households in 2019.

Labor force characteristics of individuals in same-sex and opposite-sex marriages, using the revised relationship to householder question, reveal differences between groups.

  • Same-sex married individuals ages 16 to 64 had a significantly higher labor force participation rate (84.6%) than their opposite-sex married peers (80.4%) at the national level in 2019.
  • Same-sex married women had a significantly higher labor force participation rate (83.2%) than opposite-sex married women (71.4%).
  • Same-sex married men had a significantly lower labor force participation rate (86.2%) than their male opposite-sex spouse peers (90.0%).

For more information on the topics included in the ACS, ranging from educational attainment to computer use to commuting, visit <www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/guidance/subjects.html>. To access the full set of statistics released today, visit data.census.gov.

Additional Topics and Findings Released Today From the ACS

New and Updated Data Visualization Tools

The Census Bureau’s ACS Digital Data Wheel allows users to explore and compare social, economic, housing and demographic characteristics from all states, U.S. congressional districts and metropolitan statistical areas.

Two interactive visualizations allow you to explore ten key statistics for your state or metropolitan statistical area:

The visualization Coupled Households in the United States: 2019 shows the geographic distribution of married- and unmarried-couple households in the United States. This visualization also highlights 2019 content changes involving same-sex and opposite-sex households.

Other visualizations include interactive U.S. state maps that allow you to explore income and poverty data by state.

Additional Annual Releases

In the upcoming months, the Census Bureau will release additional ACS data, including 2019 ACS supplemental estimates and ACS 5-year statistics (2015-2019).

These statistics would not be possible without the participation of households throughout the country that participated in the ACS.


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% confidence level, unless otherwise noted. Consult the tables for specific margins of error. For more information, visit <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 2019 statistics, see <https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/technical-documentation/table-and-geography-changes/2019/1-year.html>.

For guidance on comparing 2019 ACS statistics with previous years and the 2010 Census, see <www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/guidance/comparing-acs-data.html>.


Leslie Malone
Public Information Office

Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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