The Census Bureau reports income and poverty estimates from several major national household surveys and programs:
For highlights and links to each survey or program’s site, see the Surveys & Programs section of this topic site.
For more background on each survey or program, the differences between them, and how to choose the right data source, refer to the links below to pages within the Guidance for Data Users section of this topic site.
Differences Between Available Surveys/Programs for Income & Poverty
The Census Bureau reports income & poverty estimates from several major national household surveys and programs. Find out more about these data sources.
Which Data Source to Use for Income & Poverty
Use CPS ASEC for national data. Use ACS for state data. Use SAIPE for substate areas, like counties. Use SIPP for longitudinal participation data.
Group Quarters and Residence Rules for Income & Poverty
We classify all people not living in housing units as living in group quarters. These are institutional (such as prisons) or non-institutional (such as dorms).
Current versus Constant (or Real) Dollars
In order to accurately compare income over time, users should adjust the summary measures (medians, means, etc.) for changes in cost of living.
Historical Income Tables Footnotes
Footnotes for Historical Income Tables from the Current Population Survey (CPS), Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC).
Changes in Methodology for the March Current Population Survey
This chart is produced by the Income Surveys Branch as a convenience to our users.