Income Stable, Poverty Up, Numbers
With and Without Health Insurance Rise,
Census Bureau Reports
Press Release / US Census Bureau 26aug04
Public Information Office (301) 763-3030/763-3691 301) 457-3670 (fax) (301) 457-1037 (TDD) e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Income Stable, Poverty Up, Numbers of Americans With and Without Health Insurance Rise, Census Bureau Reports
Real median household income remained unchanged between 2002 and 2003 at $43,318, according to a report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. At the same time, the nation’s official poverty rate rose from 12.1 percent in 2002 to 12.5 percent in 2003. The number of people with health insurance increased by 1.0 million to 243.3 million between 2002 and 2003, and the number without such coverage rose by 1.4 million to 45.0 million. The percentage of the nation’s population without coverage grew from 15.2 percent in 2002 to 15.6 percent in 2003.
Source of Estimates and Statistical Accuracy
As with all surveys, the estimates may differ from the actual values because of sampling variation or other factors. All statements in this report have undergone statistical testing, and all comparisons are significant at the 90-percent confidence level, unless otherwise noted.
The report, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2003, is available on the Internet at < http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income.html >. The report’s data were compiled from information collected in the 2004 Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) to the Current Population Survey (CPS).
Also released today were tabulations from the 2003 American Community Survey (ACS). The survey is the largest household survey in the United States (800,000 housing units per year during the test phase). Like the decennial census long form it is designed to replace, the ACS provides information on money income and poverty, as well as a range of other social and economic indicators. ACS data for 2003 are shown for 116 metropolitan areas, 233 counties and 68 cities, all with populations of 250,000 or more. Starting in 2006, the Census Bureau expects data will be available for all areas with populations of 65,000 or more. And by 2010, data will be available down to the census tract and block group levels.
The fact sheet, Differences Between the Income and Poverty Estimates From the American Community Survey and the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement, provides information on the differences in concepts and purposes of the ACS and the CPS.
- Real median income for the nation remained unchanged between 2002 and 2003 for all types of family and nonfamily households.
Race and Hispanic Origin
- Real median income did not change between 2002 and 2003 for non-Hispanic white households (about $48,000), black households (about $30,000) or Asian households (about $55,500).
- Households with Hispanic householders (who can be of any race) experienced a real decline in median income of 2.6 percent between 2002 and 2003.
- Comparison of two-year moving averages (2001-2002 and 2002-2003) showed that the real median income for households with householders who reported American Indian and Alaska native, regardless of whether they reported any other races, increased by 4.0 percent to $35,441. There was no change for those who chose the single race of American Indian and Alaska native ($32,866).
- Real median household income remained unchanged between 2002 and 2003 in three of the four census regions — Northeast ($46,742), Midwest ($44,732) and West ($46,820). The exception was the South, where income declined 1.5 percent. The South continued to have the lowest median household income of all four regions ($39,823). The difference between median household incomes in the Northeast and West was not statistically significant.
- Native households had a real median income in 2003 ($44,347), not different from that in 2002. Foreign-born households experienced a real decline of 3.5 percent to $37,499.
- Real median earnings of men age 15 and older who worked full-time, year-round in 2003 ($40,668) remained unchanged from 2002. Women with similar work experience saw their earnings decline — 0.6 percent to $30,724 — their first annual decline since 1995. As a result, the ratio of female-to-male earnings for full-time, year-round workers was 76 cents for every dollar in 2003, down from 77 cents for every dollar in 2002.
- Income inequality showed no change between 2002 and 2003 when measured by the Gini index. The share of aggregate income received by the lowest household income quintile (20 percent of households) declined from 3.5 percent to 3.4 percent, while remaining unchanged for the other quintiles.
- The number of people below the official poverty thresholds numbered 35.9 million in 2003, or 1.3 million more than in 2002, for a 2003 poverty rate of 12.5 percent. Although up from 2002, this rate is below the average of the 1980s and 1990s.
- The poverty rate and number of families in poverty increased from 9.6 percent and 7.2 million in 2002 to 10.0 percent and 7.6 million in 2003. The corresponding numbers for unrelated individuals in poverty in 2003 were 20.4 percent and 9.7 million (not different from 2002).
- As defined by the Office of Management and Budget and updated for inflation using the Consumer Price Index, the average poverty threshold for a family of four in 2003 was $18,810; for a family of three, $14,680; for a family of two, $12,015; and for unrelated individuals, $9,393.
Race and Hispanic Origin
- In 2003, among people who reported a single race, the poverty rate for non-Hispanic whites was 8.2 percent, unchanged from 2002. Although non-Hispanic whites had a lower poverty rate than other racial groups, they accounted for 44 percent of the people in poverty.
- For blacks, neither the poverty rate nor the number in poverty changed between 2002 and 2003. People who reported black as their only race, for example, had a poverty rate of 24.4 percent in 2003.
- Among those who indicated Asian as their only race, 11.8 percent were in poverty in 2003, up from 10.1 percent in 2002. The number in poverty also rose, from 1.2 million to 1.4 million. For the population that reported Asian, regardless of whether they also reported another race, the rate and the number increased to 11.8 percent and 1.5 million.
- Among Hispanics, the poverty rate remained unchanged, at 22.5 percent in 2003, while the number in poverty increased from 8.6 million in 2002 to 9.1 million in 2003.
- The poverty rate of American Indians and Alaska natives did not change when comparing two-year averages for 2001-2002 and 2002-2003.
- The three-year average poverty rate for people who reported American Indian and Alaska native as their only race (23.2 percent) was not different from the rates for blacks or Hispanics. It was higher than the rate for non-Hispanic whites who reported only one race. The three-year average poverty rate for people who reported American Indian and Alaska native, regardless of whether they also reported another race (20.0 percent), was lower than the rates for blacks or Hispanics and higher than the rate for non-Hispanic whites who reported only one race.
- For all children under 18, the poverty rate increased from 16.7 percent in 2002 to 17.6 percent in 2003. The number in poverty rose, from 12.1 million to 12.9 million.
- Neither people 18 to 64 years old nor those age 65 and over experienced a change in their poverty rate, 10.8 percent and 10.2 percent in 2003, respectively.
- The poverty rate for Arkansas (18.5 percent) — although not different from the rates for New Mexico, Mississippi, Louisiana, West Virginia and the District of Columbia — was higher than the rates for the other 45 states when comparing three-year average poverty rates for 2001 to 2003. Conversely, New Hampshire’s rate (6.0 percent) — though not different from the rate for Minnesota — was lower than those of the other 48 states and the District of Columbia.
- Seven states — Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Virginia — showed increases in their poverty rates based on two-year moving averages (2001-2002 and 2002-2003), while two states — Mississippi and North Dakota — showed decreases.
- The native population had increases in their poverty rate (from 11.5 percent in 2002 to 11.8 percent in 2003) and their number in poverty (from 29.0 million in 2002 to 30.0 million in 2003). Poverty rates remained unchanged for foreign-born naturalized citizens (10.0 percent) and for foreign-born noncitizens (21.7 percent). Although the number for foreign-born naturalized citizens in poverty (1.3 million) did not change from 2002, the number of foreign-born noncitizens in poverty increased (to 4.6 million in 2003 from 4.3 million in 2002).
American Community Survey
In the 2003 ACS, Somerset County, N.J., while not different from Howard County, Md., or Prince William County, Va., had the highest median household income ($89,289) of the 233 counties with populations of 250,000 or more in the sample.
The median household income of Hidalgo County, Texas ($24,926), while not different from Cameron County, Texas; Bronx County, N.Y.; or Lubbock County, Texas, was lower than those of the remaining 229 counties. Poverty
Somerset County, N. J., while not different from Waukesha County, Wis.; Anne Arundel County, Md.; Howard County, Md.; Prince William County, Va.; or Anoka County, Minn., had a poverty rate (1.7 percent) that was lower than those of any of the other counties with a population of 250,000 or more.
Hidalgo County, Texas (38.0 percent), and Cameron County, Texas (36.5 percent), had poverty rates higher than those of the other 231 counties, though not different from one another. Children Under 18 Years Old
Somerset County, N. J., while not different from 17 other counties, had a child poverty rate (2.0 percent) that was lower than any of the remaining counties of 250,000 or more in the 2003 ACS.
Hidalgo County, Texas, while not different from Cameron County, Texas, had a child poverty rate (48.6 percent) that was higher than those of the other counties of 250,000 or more.
- The number of people with health insurance coverage rose from 242.4 million in 2002 to 243.3 million in 2003. Nonetheless, the percentage with coverage dropped from 84.8 percent to 84.4 percent, mirroring a drop in the percentage of people covered by employment-based health insurance (61.3 percent in 2002 to 60.4 percent in 2003). This decline in employment-based health insurance coverage essentially explains the drop in total private health insurance coverage, from 69.6 percent in 2002 to 68.6 percent in 2003.
- The percentage of people covered by government health insurance programs rose in 2003, from 25.7 percent to 26.6 percent, largely as the result of increases in Medicaid and Medicare coverage. Medicaid coverage rose 0.7 percentage points to 12.4 percent in 2003, and Medicare coverage increased 0.2 percentage points to 13.7 percent.
- The proportion of uninsured children did not change in 2003, remaining at 11.4 percent of all children, or 8.4 million.
Race and Hispanic Origin
- The uninsured rate did not change for blacks (about 19.5 percent) or Asians (about 18.7 percent) between 2002 and 2003. (The health insurance coverage rates of blacks and Asians were not different in 2003.) Non-Hispanics who reported white as their only race saw their uninsured rate increase from 10.7 percent to 11.1 percent.
- The uninsured rate for Hispanics, who may be of any race, was 32.7 percent in 2003 — unchanged from 2002.
- Based on a three-year average (2001-2003), 27.5 percent of people who reported American Indian and Alaska native as their only race were without coverage, lower than the uninsured rate for Hispanics (32.8 percent) but higher than that of the other race groups. Comparisons of two-year moving averages (2001-2002 and 2002-2003) showed that the uninsured rate for American Indians and Alaska natives did not change.
- The proportion of the foreign-born population without health insurance (34.5 percent) was about two-and-a-half times that of the native population (13.0 percent) in 2003.
- The South was the only region to show an increase in its uninsured rate in 2003, up from 17.5 percent in 2002 to 18.0 percent. The health insurance coverage rates of people in the South and in the West (17.6 percent) were not different in 2003. The percentages for the Northeast and Midwest were 12.9 percent and 12.0 percent, respectively.
The estimates in the income, poverty and health insurance report are based on the 2002, 2003 and 2004 Annual Social and Economic Supplements to the Current Population Survey (CPS ASEC), which is conducted in February, March and April at about 100,000 addresses nationwide. The CPS is a labor force survey conducted monthly by the Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics using Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) and Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI).
The American Community Survey (ACS) is an integral part of the plan to redesign the decennial census and will replace the “long form.” During the 2000-2004 testing program, the ACS has been collecting data from a sample of about 800,000 addresses per year. These estimates are collected on a rolling basis every month. The ACS uses the Census 2000 self-response mail-out/mail-back methodology, followed by CATI, followed by CAPI.
Estimates from the CPS ASEC may not match the estimates from the ACS because of differences in the questionnaires, data collection methodology, reference period, processing procedures, etc. As both are surveys, they are subject to sampling and nonsampling errors. All comparisons made in the report have been tested and found to be statistically significant at the 90-percent confidence level, unless otherwise noted.
For additional information on the CPS data, visit <http://www.census.gov/hhes/income/p60_226sa.pdf>. For additional information on ACS data, visit < http://www.census.gov/acs/www/UseData/Accuracy/Accuracy1.htm>.
Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2003
This report presents data on income, poverty, and health insurance coverage in the United States based on information collected in the 2004 Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) to the Current Population Survey (CPS) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Real median household income showed no change between 2002 and 2003.1 Both the number of people in poverty and the poverty rate increased between 2002 and 2003. The number and percentage of people without health insurance coverage, as well as the number of people with health insurance coverage, rose. These changes were not uniform across demographic groups. For example, Hispanics experienced declines in real median household income, Asians experienced increases in poverty, and non-Hispanic Whites had declines in health insurance coverage.2
This report has three main sections— income, poverty, and health insurance coverage. Each one presents estimates by characteristics such as race, Hispanic origin, nativity, and region. Other topics include earnings of year-round full-time workers, poverty among families, and health insurance coverage of children. The report concludes with a section discussing income, poverty, and health insurance coverage for states using 2- and 3-year averages.
The income and poverty estimates shown in this report are based solely on money income before taxes and do not include the value of noncash benefits such as food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, public housing, and employer- provided fringe benefits. Two forthcoming reports, one on alternative measures of income and the other on alternative measures of poverty, scheduled for release later this year, will discuss the effects of taxes and noncash benefits. They will be accompanied by a third report focusing on material measures of well-being.
The Annual Social and Economic Supplement provides reliable estimates of the net change from one year to the next in the overall distribution of economic characteristics of the population, but it does not show how those characteristics change for the same person, family, or household. Instead, longitudinal measures of income, poverty, and health insurance coverage that are based on following the same people over time are available from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP).
Because Hispanics may be of any race, data in this report for Hispanics overlap with data for racial groups. Being Hispanic was reported by 11.8 percent of White householders who reported only one race; 2.7 percent of Black householders who reported only one race; 26.5 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native householders who reported only one race; and 10.0 percent of Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander householders who reported only one race.
Estimates derived from SIPP data answer such questions as:
- What percentage of households move up or down the income distribution over time?
- How many people remain in poverty over time?
- How long do people without health insurance tend to remain uninsured?
The text box “Dynamics of Economic Well-Being” provides more information.
BOX - Dynamics of Economic Well-Being
With monthly data available for characteristics such as labor force participation, income, and health insurance coverage, SIPP provides a unique opportunity to learn about the dynamic nature of the experiences of individuals, families, or households over the course of the panel. Thus, it enables us to measure the extensive economic mobility of people in the U.S. economy.4 For example, recent SIPP reports have shown that:
- Of households in the lowest income quintile in 1996, 38 percent were in a higher quintile in 1999; of those originally in the highest income quintile, 34 percent were in a lower quintile 3 years later.
- About one-half (49.5 percent) of people who were in poverty in 1996 were not in poverty in 1999.
- For people who became uninsured, the average length of time without health insurance over the 1996-1999 period was 5.6 months. More information about movements such as these is available in a series of reports called the Dynamics of Economic Well-Being. Topics covered include household income, poverty, health insurance coverage, labor force turnover, unemployment, and program participation. For further information about SIPP, and copies of these reports, see <www.sipp.census.gov/sipp/>.
INCOME IN THE UNITED STATES
- Real median household money income remained unchanged between 2002 and 2003 at a level of $43,318, following two consecutive years of decline (Figure 1 and Table 1). Median income remained unchanged for all types of family and nonfamily households (such as married-couple households and single individuals) between 2002 and 2003.
- Real median household income remained unchanged for non- Hispanic White, Black, and Asian households between 2002 and 2003.3 Households with Hispanic householders (who can be of any race) experienced a real decline in median income of 2.6 percent between 2002 and 2003 (Table 1).5
- The most commonly used measure of household income inequality, the Gini index, did not change between 2002 and 2003. The share of aggregate income received by the lowest quintile declined from 3.5 percent to 3.4 percent, as did the real income level delineating the 20th percentile of household income, from $18,326 to $17,984 (a 1.9 percent decline in real terms). The 80th percentile of household income increased 1.1 percent, from $85,941 to $86,867 in real terms (Table 1).6
- The real median earnings of men who worked full-time, year-round remained unchanged between 2002 and 2003 at $40,668. The real median earnings of the comparable group of women declined by 0.6 percent to $30,724, as shown in Table 1 and Figure 2. Reflecting the fall in the earnings of women, the female-to-male earnings ratio declined from 0.77 to 0.76 between 2002 and 2003 (Figure 2). The last time the female-to-male earnings ratio experienced an annual decline was between 1998 and 1999.
- Compared with 1967, the first year for which household income statistics are available, real median household income is up 30 percent, as shown in Figure 1. Over this period, median income tended to rise and fall along with the business cycle. Median income peaked in 1999, was unchanged in 2000, declined over the next 2 years (by a cumulative 3.3 percent), and was unchanged in 2003.
Race and Hispanic Origin
Real median household income remained unchanged for most race groups between 2002 and 2003. For example, the median incomes of non-Hispanic White households, Black households, and Asian households remained unchanged.7 Hispanic households experienced a decline in median income of 2.6 percent.8 Black households had the lowest median income.9 Their 2003 median money income was about $30,000, which was 62 percent of the median for non-Hispanic White households (about $48,000).10
Median money income for Hispanic households was about $33,000 in 2003, which was 69 percent of the median for non-Hispanic White households.
Asian households had the highest median income among the race groups.11 Their 2003 median money income was about $55,500, 117 percent of the median for non-Hispanic White households.
Real Median Household Money Income: 1967 to 2003
More figures below notes
Figure D-1. Three-Year Average Real Median Household Income by State: 2001 to 2003
Figure D-2. Three-Year Average Poverty Rate by State: 2001 to 2003
Figure D-3. Three-Year Average Percentage of People Without Health Insurance Coverage by State: 2001 to 2003
- All income values are adjusted to reflect 2003 dollars. “Real” refers to comparisons of income after adjusting for inflation. The adjustment is based on percentage changes in prices between earlier years and 2003 and is computed by dividing the annual average Consumer Price Index for 2003 by the annual average for earlier years. The CPI-U values for 1947 to 2003 are available on the Internet at <www.census.gov/hhes/income/income03/cpiurs.html>. Inflation between 2002 and 2003 was 2.3 percent.
- Federal surveys now ask people to report one or more races. Therefore, two ways of defining a group such as Asian are possible. The first includes those who reported Asian and no other race; the second includes everyone who reported Asian regardless of whether they also reported another race. Data using both concepts are presented in this report. In this report, “non-Hispanic Whites” refers to people who are not Hispanic who reported only White as their race.
- The householder is the person (or one of the people) in whose name the home is owned or rented. If the house is owned jointly by a married couple, either the husband or the wife may be listed first, thereby becoming the reference person, or householder, to whom the relationship of the other household members is recorded. One person in each household is designated as the “householder.” The number of householders, therefore, is equal to the number of households. This report uses the characteristics of the householder to describe the household. The Census Bureau uses non-Hispanic Whites as the comparison group for other race and Hispanic groups. This statement is correct for both concepts of of Black and Asian as described in footnote 2.
- The 2001 SIPP panel collected data from February 2001 through January 2004. The full longitudinal data file is scheduled for release later in 2004.
- Data users should exercise caution when interpreting aggregate results for the Hispanic population or for race groups because these populations consist of many distinct groups that differ in socioeconomic characteristics, culture, and recency of immigration. In addition, the CPS does not use separate population controls for weighting the Asian sample to national totals. Data were first collected for Hispanics in 1972 and for Asians and Pacific Islanders in 1987. For further information, see <www.bls.census.gov/cps/ads/adsmain.htm>.
- An article by Paul Allison, “Measures of Inequality,” American Sociological Review, 43, December 1977, pp. 865-880, provides an explanation of inequality measures.
- This statement is correct for both concepts of Black and of Asian, as described in footnote 2.
- Most Hispanics report White as their race in the CPS; thus, real median income for the combined group of non-Hispanic White households and Hispanic White households has declined. This statement is correct for both concepts of White, as described in footnote 2.
- This statement is correct for both concepts of Black, as described in footnote 2.
- The distribution of household income is influenced by many factors, such as the number of earners and household size.
- This statement is correct for both concepts of Asian, as described in footnote 2.
Three-Year Average Real Median Household Income by State: 2001 to 2003
Three-Year Average Poverty Rate by State: 2001 to 2003
Three-Year Average Percentage of People Without Health Insurance Coverage by State: 2001 to 2003
source: http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/p60-226.pdf 26aug04
Poverty: 2003 Highlights
The data presented here are from the Current Population Survey (CPS), 2004 Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC), the source of official poverty estimates. The CPS ASEC is a sample survey of approximately 100,000 household nationwide. These data reflect conditions in calendar year 2003.
- The official poverty rate in 2003 was 12.5 percent, up from 12.1 percent in 2002.
- In 2003, 35.9 million people were in poverty, up 1.3 million from 2002.
- Poverty rates remained unchanged for Hispanics, non-Hispanic Whites, and Blacks, although it rose for Whites and Asians.
- For children under 18 years old, both the poverty rate and the number in poverty rose between 2002 and 2003, from 16.7 percent to 17.6 percent, and from 12.1 million to 12.9 million, respectively. The poverty rate of children under 18 remained higher than that of 18-to-64 years olds and that of seniors aged 65 and over (10.8 percent and 10.2 percent, respectively, both unchanged from 2002).
- The poverty rate in 2003 (12.5 percent) is 9.9 percentage points lower than in 1959, the first year for which poverty estimates are available. From the most recent trough in 2000, both the number and rate have risen for three consecutive years, from 31.6 million and 11.3 percent in 2000, to 35.9 million and 12.5 percent in 2003.
 These statements are correct for both ways of measuring the Black, Asian, and White racial groups. The CPS does not use separate population controls for weighting the Asian sample to national totals.
source: http://www.census.gov/hhes/poverty/poverty03/pov03hi.html 27aug04
Poverty Thresholds for 2003 by Size of Family and Number of Related Children Under 18 Years (Dollars)
Weighted Related children under 18 years . Size of family unit average Eight thresholds None One Two Three Four Five Six Seven or more One person (unrelated individual).…… 9,393 Under 65 years.................... 9,573 9,573 65 years and over................. 8,825 8,825 Two persons.........................12,015 Householder under 65 years........12,384 12,321 12,682 Householder 65 years and over...……11,133 11,122 12,634 Three persons.......................14,680 14,393 14,810 14,824 Four persons........................18,810 18,979 19,289 18,660 18,725 Five persons........................22,245 22,887 23,220 22,509 21,959 21,623 Six persons.........................25,122 26,324 26,429 25,884 25,362 24,586 24,126 Seven persons.......................28,544 30,289 30,479 29,827 29,372 28,526 27,538 26,454 Eight persons.......................31,589 33,876 34,175 33,560 33,021 32,256 31,286 30,275 30,019 Nine persons or more................37,656 40,751 40,948 40,404 39,947 39,196 38,163 37,229 36,998 35,572 Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey 2004 Annual Social and Economic Supplement.
source: http://www.census.gov/hhes/poverty/threshld/thresh03.html 27aug04
Figure 3. Number in Poverty and Poverty Rate: 1959 to 2003
Note: The data points are placed at the midpoints of the respective years.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 1960 to 2004 Annual Social and Economic Supplements.
source: http://www.census.gov/hhes/poverty/poverty03/pov03fig03.pdf 27aug04
Figure 4. Poverty Rates by Age: 1959 to 2003
Note: The data points are placed at the midpoints of the respective years.
Data for people 18 to 64 and 65 and older are not available from 1960 to 1965.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 1960 to 2004 Annual Social and Economic Supplements.
source: http://www.census.gov/hhes/poverty/poverty03/pov03fig04.pdf 27aug04