Data Dictionary: ACS 2005 -- 2009 (5-Year Estimates)
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Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Table: B05010. Ratio Of Income To Poverty Level In The Past 12 Months By Nativity Of Children Under 18 Years In Families And Subfamilies By Living Arrangements And Nativity Of Parents [25]
Universe: Universe: Own children under 18 years living in families or subfamilies for whom poverty status is determined
Table Details
B05010. Ratio Of Income To Poverty Level In The Past 12 Months By Nativity Of Children Under 18 Years In Families And Subfamilies By Living Arrangements And Nativity Of Parents
Universe: Universe: Own children under 18 years living in families or subfamilies for whom poverty status is determined
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2005-2009 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Ratio
This is a measure of the relative size of one number to a second number expressed as the quotient of the first number divided by the second. For example, the sex ratio is calculated by dividing the total number of males by the total number of females, and then multiplying by 100.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2005-2009 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Income in the Past 12 Months
The data on income were derived from answers to Questions 47 and 48, which were asked of the population 15 years old and over. "Total income" is the sum of the amounts reported separately for wage or salary income; net self-employment income; interest, dividends, or net rental or royalty income or income from estates and trusts; Social Security or railroad retirement income; Supplemental Security Income (SSI); public assistance or welfare payments; retirement, survivor, or disability pensions; and all other income.

Receipts from the following sources are not included as income: capital gains, money received from the sale of property (unless the recipient was engaged in the business of selling such property); the value of income "in kind" from food stamps, public housing subsidies, medical care, employer contributions for individuals, etc.; withdrawal of bank deposits; money borrowed; tax refunds; exchange of money between relatives living in the same household; gifts and lump-sum inheritances, insurance payments, and other types of lump-sum receipts.

Income is a vital measure of general economic circumstances. Income data are used to determine poverty status, to measure economic well-being, and to assess the need for assistance. These data are included in federal allocation formulas for many government programs. For instance:

Social Services: Under the Older Americans Act, funds for food, health care, and legal services are distributed to local agencies based on data about elderly people with low incomes. Data about income at the state and county levels are used to allocate funds for food, health care, and classes in meal planning to low-income women with children.

Employment: Income data are used to identify local areas eligible for grants to stimulate economic recovery, run job-training programs, and define areas such as empowerment or enterprise zones.

Housing: Under the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, income data are used to allocate funds to areas for home energy aid. Under the Community Development Block Grant Program, funding for housing assistance and other community development is based on income and other census data.

Education: Data about poor children are used to allocate funds to counties and school districts. These funds provide resources and services to improve the education of economically disadvantaged children.

In household surveys, respondents tend to underreport income. Asking the list of specific sources of income helps respondents remember all income amounts that have been received, and asking total income increases the overall response rate and thus, the accuracy of the answers to the income questions. The eight specific sources of income also provide needed detail about items such as earnings, retirement income, and public assistance.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2005-2009 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Poverty Status in the Past 12 Months
Poverty statistics in ACS products adhere to the standards specified by the Office of Management and Budget in Statistical Policy Directive 14. The Census Bureau uses a set of dollar value thresholds that vary by family size and composition to determine who is in poverty. Further, poverty thresholds for people living alone or with nonrelatives (unrelated individuals) vary by age (under 65 years or 65 years and older). The poverty thresholds for two-person families also vary by the age of the householder. If a familytotal income is less than the dollar value of the appropriate threshold, then that family and every individual in it are considered to be in poverty. Similarly, if an unrelated individuals total income is less than the appropriate threshold, then that individual is considered to be in poverty.

How the Census Bureau Determines Poverty Status
In determining the poverty status of families and unrelated individuals, the Census Bureau uses thresholds (income cutoffs) arranged in a two-dimensional matrix. The matrix consists of family size (from one person to nine or more people) cross-classified by presence and number of family members under 18 years old (from no children present to eight or more children present). Unrelated individuals and two-person families are further differentiated by age of reference person (RP) (under 65 years old and 65 years old and over).

To determine a person's poverty status, one compares the person's total family income in the last 12 months with the poverty threshold appropriate for that person's family size and composition (see example below). If the total income of that person's family is less than the threshold appropriate for that family, then the person is considered "below the poverty level," together with every member of his or her family. If a person is not living with anyone related by birth, marriage, or adoption, then the person's own income is compared with his or her poverty threshold. The total number of people "below the poverty level" is the sum of people in families and the number of unrelated individuals with incomes in the last 12 months below the poverty threshold.

Since ACS is a continuous survey, people respond throughout the year. Because the income questions specify a period covering the last 12 months, the appropriate poverty thresholds are determined by multiplying the base-year poverty thresholds (1982) by the average of the monthly inflation factors for the 12 months preceding the data collection. See the table in "Appendix A" titled "Poverty Thresholds in 1982, by Size of Family and Number of Related Children Under 18 Years (Dollars)," for appropriate base thresholds. See the table "The 2009 Poverty Factors" in "Appendix A" for the appropriate adjustment based on interview month.

For example, consider a family of three with one child under 18 years of age, interviewed in July 2009 and reporting a total family income of $14,000 for the last 12 months (July 2008 to June 2009). The base year (1982) threshold for such a family is $7,765, while the average of the 12 inflation factors is 2.22421. Multiplying $7,765 by 2.22421 determines the appropriate poverty threshold for this family type, which is $17,271. Comparing the familyincome of $14,000 with the poverty threshold shows that the family and all people in the family are considered to have been in poverty. The only difference for determining poverty status for unrelated individuals is that the person's individual total income is compared with the threshold rather than the family's income.

Specified Poverty Levels
For various reasons, the official poverty definition does not satisfy all the needs of data users. Therefore, some of the data reflect the number of people below different percentages of the poverty thresholds. These specified poverty levels are obtained by multiplying the official thresholds by the appropriate factor. Using the previous example cited (a family of three with one related child under 18 years responding in July 2009), the dollar value of 125 percent of the poverty threshold was $ 21,589 ($ 17,271x 1.25). Income Deficit - Income deficit represents the difference between the total income in the last 12 months of families and unrelated individuals "below the poverty level" and their respective poverty thresholds. In computing the income deficit, families reporting a net income loss are assigned zero dollars and for such cases the deficit is equal to the poverty threshold. This measure provides an estimate of the amount, which would be required to raise the incomes of all poor families and unrelated individuals to their respective poverty thresholds. The income deficit is thus a measure of the degree of the impoverishment of a family or unrelated individual. However, please use caution when comparing the average deficits of families with different characteristics. Apparent differences in average income deficits may, to some extent, be a function of differences in family size.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2005-2009 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Place of Birth
The data on place of birth were derived from answers to Question 7. Respondents were asked to select one of two categories: (1) in the United States, or (2) outside the United States. In the American Community Survey, respondents selecting category (1) were then asked to report the name of the state while respondents selecting category (2) were then asked to report the name of the foreign country, or Puerto Rico, Guam, etc. In the Puerto Rico Community Survey, respondents selecting category (1) were also asked to report the name of the state, while respondents selecting category (2) were then asked to print Puerto Rico or the name of the foreign country, or U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, etc. People not reporting a place of birth were assigned the state or country of birth of another family member, or were allocated the response of another individual with similar characteristics. People born outside the United States were asked to report their place of birth according to current international boundaries. Since numerous changes in boundaries of foreign countries have occurred in the last century, some people may have reported their place of birth in terms of boundaries that existed at the time of their birth or emigration, or in accordance with their own national preference.

The place of birth questions along with the citizenship status question provide essential data for setting and evaluating immigration policies and laws. Knowing the characterisitcs of immigrants helps legislators and others understand how different immigrant groups are assimilated. Federal agencies require these data to develop programs for refugees and other foreign-born individuals. Vital information on lifetime migration among states also comes from the place of birth question.

Nativity
Information on place of birth and citizenship status was used to classify the population into two major categories: native and foreign born.

Native
The native population includes anyone who was a U.S. citizen at birth. The native population includes those born in the United States, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Marianas, or the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as those born abroad of at least one U.S. citizen parent. The native population is divided into the following groups: people born in the state in which they resided at the time of the survey; people born in a different state, by region; people born in Puerto Rico or one of the U.S. Island Areas; and people born abroad with at least one U.S. citizen parent. (See also "Citizenship Status.")

Foreign Born
The foreign-born population includes anyone who was not a U.S. citizen at birth. This includes respondents who indicated they were a U.S. citizen by naturalization or not a U.S. citizen. (See also Citizenship Status.) The foreign-born population is shown by selected area, country, or region of birth. The places of birth shown in data products were chosen based on the number of respondents who reported that area or country of birth.

Question/Concept History
The 1996-1998 American Community Survey question asked respondents to write in the U.S. state, territory, commonwealth or foreign country where this person was born. Beginning in 1999, the question asked "Where was this person born?" and provided two check-boxes, each with a write-in space.

Limitation of the Data
Beginning in 2006, the group quarters (GQ) population is included in the ACS. Some types of GQ populations may have place of birth distributions that are different from the household population. The inclusion of the GQ population could therefore have a noticeable impact on the place of birth distribution. This is particularly true for areas with a substantial GQ population.

Comparability
This data source is comparable to the decennial censuses. See the 2009 Code List for Place of Birth Code List.