The Census Bureau reports income and poverty estimates from several major national household surveys and programs:
Estimates across surveys and programs differ in a number of ways, such as in the length and detail of questionnaires, the number of households included (sample size), and the methodology used to collect and process data. It is important to understand that different surveys and methods, which are designed to meet different needs, may produce different results. For more background on each survey or program, the difference between them, and how to choose the right data source, refer to the links below.
How the Census Bureau Measures Poverty
Learn how poverty thresholds are assigned and what sources of income are used to determine poverty status.
Differences Between Available Surveys/Programs for 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 Poverty
Use CPS ASEC for national estimates. Use ACS for state estimates. Use SAIPE for substate areas, like counties. Use SIPP for longitudinal data.
Survey Data Collection and Methodology Considerations for Poverty Data
Chart to help Census data users make the best decision for data needs.
Group Quarters and Residence Rules for 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).