Data Dictionary: Census 1990
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Survey: Census 1990
Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Table: P115. Aggregate Income In 1989 Dollars By Race [6]
Universe: Persons 15 years and over
Table Details
P115. Aggregate Income In 1989 Dollars By Race
Universe: Persons 15 years and over
Variable Label
P115_001
P115_002
P115_003
P115_004
P115_005
P115_006
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer, U.S. Census Bureau; Census of Population and Housing, 1990: Summary Tape File 3 on CD-ROM [machine-readable data files] / prepared by the Bureau of the Census. Washington: The Bureau [producer and distributor], 1991.
 
Income in 1989
The data on income in 1989 were derived from answers to questionnaire items 32 and 33. Information on money income received in the calendar year 1989 was requested from persons 15 years old and over. "Total income" is the algebraic sum of the amounts reported separately for wage or salary income; net nonfarm self-employment income; net farm self-employment income; interest, dividend, or net rental or royalty income; Social Security or railroad retirement income; public assistance or welfare income; retirement or disability income; and all other income. "Earnings" is defined as the algebraic sum of wage or salary income and net income from farm and nonfarm self-employment. "Earnings" represent the amount of income received regularly before deductions for personal income taxes, Social Security, bond purchases, union dues, medicare deductions, etc.

Receipts from the following sources are not included as income: 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 persons, 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 Type in 1989
The eight types of income reported in the census are defined as follows:

Wage or Salary Income
Includes total money earnings received for work performed as an employee during the calendar year 1989. It includes wages, salary, Armed Forces pay, commissions, tips, piece-rate payments, and cash bonuses earned before deductions were made for taxes, bonds, pensions, union dues, etc.

Nonfarm Self-Employment Income
Includes net money income (gross receipts minus expenses) from one's own business, professional enterprise, or partnership. Gross receipts include the value of all goods sold and services rendered. Expenses includes costs of goods purchased, rent, heat, light, power, depreciation charges, wages and salaries paid, business taxes (not personal income taxes), etc.

Farm Self-Employment Income
Includes net money income (gross receipts minus operating expenses) from the operation of a farm by a person on his or her own account, as an owner, renter, or sharecropper. Gross receipts include the value of all products sold, government farm programs, money received from the rental of farm equipment to others, and incidental receipts from the sale of wood, sand, gravel, etc. Operating expenses include cost of feed, fertilizer, seed, and other farming supplies, cash wages paid to farmhands, depreciation charges, cash rent, interest on farm mortgages, farm building repairs, farm taxes (not State and Federal personal income taxes), etc. The value of fuel, food, or other farm products used for family living is not included as part of net income.
Interest, Dividend, or Net Rental Income
Includes interest on savings or bonds, dividends from stockholdings or membership in associations, net income from rental of property to others and receipts from boarders or lodgers, net royalties, and periodic payments from an estate or trust fund.

Social Security Income
Includes Social Security pensions and survivors benefits and permanent disability insurance payments made by the Social Security Administration prior to deductions for medical insurance, and railroad retirement insurance checks from the U.S. Government. Medicare reimbursements are not included.

Public Assistance Income
Includes: (1) supplementary security income payments made by Federal or State welfare agencies to low income persons who are aged (65 years old or over), blind, or disabled; (2) aid to families with dependent children, and (3) general assistance. Separate payments received for hospital or other medical care (vendor payments) are excluded from this item.

Retirement or Disability Income
Includes: (1) retirement pensions and survivor benefits from a former employer, labor union, or Federal, State, county, or other governmental agency; (2) disability income from sources such as worker's compensation; companies or unions; Federal, State, or local government; and the U.S. military; (3) periodic receipts from annuities and insurance; and (4) regular income from IRA and KEOGH plans.

All Other Income
Includes unemployment compensation, Veterans Administration (VA) payments, alimony and child support, contributions received periodically from persons not living in the household, military family allotments, net gambling winnings, and other kinds of periodic income other than earnings.

Income of Households
Includes the income of the householder and all other persons 15 years old and over in the household, whether related to the householder or not. Because many households consist of only one person, average household income is usually less than average family income.

Income of Families and Persons
In compiling statistics on family income, the incomes of all members 15 years old and over in each family are summed and treated as a single amount. However, for persons 15 years old and over, the total amounts of their own incomes are used. Although the income statistics covered the calendar year 1989, the characteristics of persons and the composition of families refer to the time of enumeration (April 1990). Thus, the income of the family does not include amounts received by persons who were members of the family during all or part of the calendar year 1989 if these persons no longer resided with the family at the time of enumeration. Yet, family income amounts reported by related persons who did not reside with the family during 1989 but who were members of the family at the time of enumeration are included. However, the composition of most families was the same during 1989 as in April 1990.

Median Income
The median divides the income distribution into two equal parts, one having incomes above the median and the other having incomes below the median. For households and families, the median income is based on the distribution of the total number of units including those with no income. The median for persons is based on persons with income. The median income values for all households, families, and persons are computed on the basis of more detailed income intervals than shown in most tabulations. Median household or family income figures of $50,000 or less are calculated using linear interpolation. For persons, corresponding median values of $40,000 or less are also computed using linear interpolation. All other median income amounts are derived through Pareto interpolation. (For more information on medians and interpolation, see the discussion under "Derived Measures.")

Mean Income
This is the amount obtained by dividing the total income of a particular statistical universe by the number of units in that universe. Thus, mean household income is obtained by dividing total household income by the total number of households. For the various types of income the means are based on households having those types of income. "Per capita income" is the mean income computed for every man, woman, and child in a particular group. It is derived by dividing the total income of a particular group by the total population in that group.

Care should be exercised in using and interpreting mean income values for small subgroups of the population. Because the mean is influenced strongly by extreme values in the distribution, it is especially susceptible to the effects of sampling variability, misreporting, and processing errors. The median, which is not affected by extreme values, is, therefore, a better measure than the mean when the population base is small. The mean, nevertheless, is shown in some data products for most small subgroups because, when weighted according to the number of cases, the means can be added to obtained summary measures for areas and groups other than those shown in census tabulations.

Limitation of the Data
Since questionnaire entries for income frequently are based on memory and not on records, many persons tended to forget minor or irregular sources of income and, therefore, underreport their income. Underreporting tends to be more pronounced for income sources that are not derived from earnings, such as Social Security, public assistance, or from interest, dividends, and net rental income.

There are errors of reporting due to the misunderstanding of the income questions such as reporting gross rather than net dollar amounts for the two questions on net self-employment income, which resulted in an overstatement of these items. Another common error is the reporting of identical dollar amounts in two of the eight type of income items where a respondent with only one source of income assumed that the second amount should be entered to represent total income. Such instances of overreporting had an impact on the level of mean nonfarm or farm self-employment income and mean total income published for the various geographical subdivisions of the State.

Extensive computer editing procedures were instituted in the data processing operation to reduce some of these reporting errors and to improve the accuracy of the income data. These procedures corrected various reporting deficiencies and improved the consistency of reported income items associated with work experience and information on occupation and class of worker. For example, if persons reported they were self-employed on their own farm, not incorporated, but had reported wage and salary earnings only, the latter amount was shifted to net farm self-employment income. Also, if any respondent reported total income only, the amount was generally assigned to one of the type of income items according to responses to the work experience and class-of-worker questions. Another type of problem involved nonreporting of income data. Where income information was not reported, procedures were devised to impute appropriate values with either no income or positive or negative dollar amounts for the missing entries. (For more information on imputation, see Appendix C, Accuracy of the Data.)

In income tabulations for households and families, the lowest income group (e.g., less than $5,000) includes units that were classified as having no 1989 income. Many of these were living on income "in kind," savings, or gifts, were newly created families, or families in which the sole breadwinner had recently died or left the household. However, many of the households and families who reported no income probably had some money income which was not recorded in the census. The income data presented in the tabulations covers money income only. The fact that many farm families receive an important part of their income in the form of "free" housing and goods produced and consumed on the farm rather than in money should be taken into consideration in comparing the income of farm and nonfarm residents. Non-money income such as business expense accounts, use of business transportation and facilities, or partial compensation by business for medical and educational expenses was also received by some nonfarm residents. Many low income families also receive income "in kind" from public welfare programs. In comparing income data for 1989 with earlier years, it should be noted that an increase or decrease in money income does not necessarily represent a comparable change in real income, unless adjustments for changes in prices are made.

Comparability
The income data collected in the 1980 and 1970 censuses are similar to the 1990 census data, but there are variations in the detail of the questions. In 1980, income information for 1979 was collected from persons in approximately 19 percent of all housing units and group quarters. Each person was required to report:

Wage or salary income
Net nonfarm self-employment income
Net farm self-employment income
Interest, dividend, or net rental or royalty income
Social Security income
Public assistance income
Income from all other sources

Between the 1980 and 1990 censuses, there were minor differences in the processing of the data. In both censuses, all persons with missing values in one or more of the detailed type of income items and total income were designated as allocated. Each missing entry was imputed either as a "no" or as a dollar amount. If total income was reported and one or more of the type of income fields was not answered, then the entry in total income generally was assigned to one of the income types according to the socioeconomic characteristics of the income recipient. This person was designated as unallocated.

In 1980 and 1990, all nonrespondents with income not reported (whether heads of households or other persons) were assigned the reported income of persons with similar characteristics. (For more information on imputation, see Appendix C, "Accuracy of the Data.")

There was a difference in the method of computer derivation of aggregate income from individual amounts between the two census processing operations. In the 1980 census, income amounts less than $100,000 were coded in tens of dollars, and amounts of $100,000 or more were coded in thousands of dollars; $5 was added to each amount coded in tens of dollars and $500 to each amount coded in thousands of dollars. Entries of $999,000 or more were treated as $999,500 and losses of $9,999 or more were treated as minus $9,999. In the 1990 census, income amounts less than $999,999 were keyed in dollars. Amounts of $999,999 or more were treated as $999,999 and losses of $9,999 or more were treated as minus $9,999 in all of the computer derivations of aggregate income.

In 1970, information on income in 1969 was obtained from all members in every fifth housing unit and small group quarters (less than 15 persons) and every fifth person in all other group quarters. Each person was required to report:

Wage or salary income
Net nonfarm self-employment income
Net farm self-employment income
Social Security or Railroad Retirement
Public assistance or welfare payments
Income from all other sources

If a person reported a dollar amount in wage or salary, net nonfarm self-employment income, or net farm self-employment income, the person was considered as unallocated only if no further dollar amounts were imputed for any additional missing entries.

In 1960, data on income were obtained from all members in every fourth housing unit and from every fourth person 14 years old and over living in group quarters. Each person was required to report wage or salary income, net self-employment income, and income other than earnings received in 1959. An assumption was made in the editing process that no other type of income was received by a person who reported the receipt of either wage and salary income or self-employment but who had failed to report the receipt of other money income.

For several reasons, the income data shown in census tabulations are not directly comparable with those that may be obtained from statistical summaries of income tax returns. Income, as defined for Federal tax purposes, differs somewhat from the Census Bureau concept. Moreover, the coverage of income tax statistics is different because of the exemptions of persons having small amounts of income and the inclusion of net capital gains in tax returns. Furthermore, members of some families file separate returns and others file joint returns; consequently, the income reporting unit is not consistently either a family or a person.

The earnings data shown in census tabulations are not directly comparable with earnings records of the Social Security Administration. The earnings record data for 1989 excluded the earnings of most civilian government employees, some employees of nonprofit organizations, workers covered by the Railroad Retirement Act, and persons not covered by the program because of insufficient earnings. Furthermore, earnings received from any one employer in excess of $48,000 in 1989 are not covered by earnings records. Finally, because census data are obtained from household questionnaires, they may differ from Social Security Administration earnings record data, which are based upon employers' reports and the Federal income tax returns of self-employed persons.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of the Department of Commerce publishes annual data on aggregate and per-capita personal income received by the population for States, metropolitan areas, and selected counties. Aggregate income estimates based on the income statistics shown in census products usually would be less than those shown in the BEA income series for several reasons. The Census Bureau data are obtained directly from households, whereas the BEA income series is estimated largely on the basis of data from administrative records of business and governmental sources. Moreover, the definitions of income are different. The BEA income series includes some items not included in the income data shown in census publications, such as income "in kind," income received by nonprofit institutions, the value of services of banks and other financial intermediaries rendered to persons without the assessment of specific charges, Medicare payments, and the income of persons who died or emigrated prior to April 1, 1990. On the other hand, the census income data include contributions for support received from persons not residing in the same household and employer contributions for social insurance.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer, U.S. Census Bureau; Census of Population and Housing, 1990: Summary Tape File 3 on CD-ROM [machine-readable data files] / prepared by the Bureau of the Census. Washington: The Bureau [producer and distributor], 1991.
 
Race
The data on race were derived from answers to questionnaire item 4, which was asked of all persons. The concept of race as used by the Census Bureau reflects self-identification; it does not denote any clear-cut scientific definition of biological stock. The data for race represent self-classification by people according to the race with which they most closely identify. Furthermore, it is recognized that the categories of the race item include both racial and national origin or socio-cultural groups.

During direct interviews conducted by enumerators, if a person could not provide a single response to the race question, he or she was asked to select, based on self-identification, the group which best described his or her racial identity. If a person could not provide a single race response, the race of the mother was used. If a single race response could not be provided for the person's mother, the first race reported by the person was used. In all cases where occupied housing units, households, or families are classified by race, the race of the householder was used.

The racial classification used by the Census Bureau generally adheres to the guidelines in Federal Statistical Directive No. 15, issued by the Office of Management and Budget, which provides standards on ethnic and racial categories for statistical reporting to be used by all Federal agencies. The racial categories used in the 1990 census data products are provided below.

Includes persons who indicated their race as "White" or reported entries such as Canadian, German, Italian, Lebanese, Near Easterner, Arab, or Polish.

Includes persons who indicated their race as "Black or Negro" or reported entries such as African American, Afro-American, Black Puerto Rican, Jamaican, Nigerian, West Indian, or Haitian.

American Indian, Eskimo, or Aleut
Includes persons who classified themselves as such in one of the specific race categories identified below.

American Indian
Includes persons who indicated their race as "American Indian," entered the name of an Indian tribe, or reported such entries as Canadian Indian, French-American Indian, or Spanish-American Indian.

American Indian Tribe
Persons who identified themselves as American Indian were asked to report their enrolled or principal tribe. Therefore, tribal data in tabulations reflect the written tribal entries reported on the questionnaires. Some of the entries (for example, Iroquois, Sioux, Colorado River, and Flathead) represent nations or reservations.
The information on tribe is based on self-identification and therefore does not reflect any designation of Federally- or State-recognized tribe. Information on American Indian tribes is presented in summary tape files and special data products. The information is derived from the American Indian Detailed Tribal Classification List for the 1990 census. The classification list represents all tribes, bands, and clans that had a specified number of American Indians reported on the census questionnaire.

Eskimo
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Eskimo" or reported entries such as Arctic Slope, Inupiat, and Yupik.

Includes persons who indicated their race as "Aleut" or reported entries such as Alutiiq, Egegik, and Pribilovian.

Asian or Pacific Islander
Includes persons who reported in one of the Asian or Pacific Islander groups listed on the questionnaire or who provided write-in responses such as Thai, Nepali, or Tongan. A more detailed listing of the groups comprising the Asian or Pacific Islander population is presented in figure 2 below. In some data products, information is presented separately for the Asian population and the Pacific Islander population.

Includes "Chinese," "Filipino," "Japanese," "Asian Indian," "Korean," "Vietnamese," and "Other Asian." In some tables, "Other Asian" may not be shown separately, but is included in the total Asian population.

Chinese
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Chinese" or who identified themselves as Cantonese, Tibetan, or Chinese American. In standard census reports, persons who reported as "Taiwanese" or "Formosan" are included here with Chinese. In special reports on the Asian or Pacific Islander population, information on persons who identified themselves as Taiwanese are shown separately.

Filipino
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Filipino" or reported entries such as Philipino, Philipine, or Filipino American.

Japanese
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Japanese" and persons who identified themselves as Nipponese or Japanese American.

Asian Indian
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Asian Indian" and persons who identified themselves as Bengalese, Bharat, Dravidian, East Indian, or Goanese.

Korean
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Korean" and persons who identified themselves as Korean American.

Vietnamese
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Vietnamese" and persons who identified themselves as Vietnamese American.

Cambodian
Includes persons who provided a write-in response such as Cambodian or Cambodia.
Includes persons who provided a write-in response such as Hmong, Laohmong, or Mong.
Laotian
Includes persons who provided a write-in response such as Laotian, Laos, or Lao.
Includes persons who provided a write-in response such as Thai, Thailand, or Siamese.
Other Asian
Includes persons who provided a write-in response of Bangladeshi, Burmese, Indonesian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Amerasian, or Eurasian. See figure 2 for other groups comprising "Other Asian."
Pacific Islander
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Pacific Islander" by classifying themselves into one of the following groups or identifying themselves as one of the Pacific Islander cultural groups of Polynesian, Micronesian, or Melanesian.

Hawaiian
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Hawaiian" as well as persons who identified themselves as Part Hawaiian or Native Hawaiian. Samoan--Includes persons who indicated their race as "Samoan" or persons who identified themselves as American Samoan or Western Samoan.

Guamanian
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Guamanian" or persons who identified themselves as Chamorro or Guam. Other Pacific Islander--Includes persons who provided a write-in response of a Pacific Islander group such as Tahitian, Northern Mariana Islander, Palauan, Fijian, or a cultural group such as Polynesian, Micronesian, or Melanesian. See figure 2 for other groups comprising "Other Pacific Islander."

Other Race
Includes all other persons not included in the "White," "Black," "American Indian, Eskimo, or Aleut," and the "Asian or Pacific Islander" race categories described above. Persons reporting in the "Other race" category and providing write-in entries such as multiracial, multiethnic, mixed, interracial, Wesort, or a Spanish/Hispanic origin group (such as Mexican, Cuban, or Puerto Rican) are included here.

Written entries to three categories on the race item--"Indian (Amer.)," "Other Asian or Pacific Islander (API)," and "Other race"--were reviewed, edited, and coded by subject matter specialists. (For more information on the coding operation, see the section below that discusses "Comparability.")

The written entries under "Indian (Amer.)" and "Other Asian or Pacific Islander (API)" were reviewed and coded during 100-percent processing of the 1990 census questionnaires. A substantial portion of the entries for the "Other race" category also were reviewed, edited, and coded during the 100-percent processing. The remaining entries under "Other race" underwent review and coding during sample processing. Most of the written entries reviewed and coded during sample processing were those indicating Hispanic origin such as Mexican, Cuban, or Puerto Rican.

If the race entry for a member of a household was missing on the questionnaire, race was assigned based upon the reported entries of race by other household members using specific rules of precedence of household relationship. For example, if race was missing for the daughter of the householder, then the race of her mother (as female householder or female spouse) would be assigned. If there was no female householder or spouse in the household, the daughter would be assigned her father's (male householder) race. If race was not reported for anyone in the household, the race of a householder in a previously processed household was assigned. This procedure is a variation of the general imputation procedures described in Appendix C, Accuracy of the Data.

Limitation of the Data
In the 1980 census, a relatively high proportion (20 percent) of American Indians did not report any tribal entry in the race item. Evaluation of the pre-census tests indicated that changes made for the 1990 race item should improve the reporting of tribes in the rural areas (especially on reservations) for the 1990 census. The results for urban areas were inconclusive. Also, the precensus tests indicated that there may be overreporting of the Cherokee tribe. An evaluation of 1980 census data showed overreporting of Cherokee in urban areas or areas where the number of American Indians was sparse.

In the 1990 census, respondents sometimes did not fill in a circle or filled the "Other race" circle and wrote in a response, such as Arab, Polish, or African American in the shared write-in box for "Other race" and "Other API" responses. During the automated coding process, these responses were edited and assigned to the appropriate racial designation. Also, some Hispanic origin persons did not fill in a circle, but provided entries such as Mexican or Puerto Rican. These persons were classified in the "Other race" category during the coding and editing process. There may be some minor differences between sample data and 100- percent data because sample processing included additional edits not included in the 100-percent processing.

Figure 2. Asian or Pacific Islander Groups Reported in the 1990 Census
Asian Pacific Islander
Chinese Hawaiian
Filipino Samoan
Japanese Guamanian
Asian Indian Other Pacific Islander[1]
Korean   Carolinian
Vietnamese   Fijian
Cambodian   Kosraean [3]
Hmong   Melanesian
Laotian   Micronesian [3]
Thai   Northern Mariana Islander
Other Asian [1]   Palauan
  Bangladeshi   Papua Now Guinean
  Bhutanese   Ponapean (Pohnpeian)
  Borneo   Polynesian
  Burmese   Solomon Islander
  Celebesian   Tahitian
  Ceram   Tarawa Islander
  Indochinese   Tokelauan
  Indonesian   Tongan
  Iwo-Jiman   Trukese (Chuukese)
  Javanese   Yapese
  Malayan   Pacific Islander, not speclied
  Maldivian
  Nepali
  Okinawan
  Pakistani
  Sikkim
  Singaporean
  Sri Lankan
  Sumatran
  Asian, not specified


(1)In some data products, specific groups listed under "Other Asian" or "Other Pacific Islander" are shown separately. Groups not shown are tabulated as "All other Asian" or "All other Pacific Islander," respectively.
(2)Includes entries such as Asian American, Asian, Asiatic, Amerasian, and Eurasian.
(3)Polynesian, Micronesian, and Melanesian are Pacific Islander cultural groups.

Comparability
Differences between the 1990 census and earlier censuses affect the comparability of data for certain racial groups and American Indian tribes. The 1990 census was the first census to undertake, on a 100- percent basis, an automated review, edit, and coding operation for written responses to the race item. The automated coding system used in the 1990 census greatly reduced the potential for error associated with a clerical review. Specialists with a thorough knowledge of the race subject matter reviewed, edited, coded, and resolved inconsistent or incomplete responses. In the 1980 census, there was only a limited clerical review of the race responses on the 100-percent forms with a full clerical review conducted only on the sample questionnaires.

Another major difference between the 1990 and preceding censuses is the handling of the write-in responses for the Asian or Pacific Islander populations. In addition to the nine Asian or Pacific Islander categories shown on the questionnaire under the spanner "Asian or Pacific Islander (API)," the 1990 census race item provided a new residual category, "Other API," for Asian or Pacific Islander persons who did not report in one of the listed Asian or Pacific Islander groups. During the coding operation, write-in responses for "Other API" were reviewed, coded, and assigned to the appropriate classification. For example, in 1990, a write-in entry of Laotian, Thai, or Javanese is classified as "Other Asian," while a write-in entry of Tongan or Fijian is classified as "Other Pacific Islander." In the 1990 census, these persons were able to identify as "Other API" in both the 100-percent and sample operations.

In the 1980 census, the nine Asian or Pacific Islander groups were also listed separately. However, persons not belonging to these nine groups wrote in their specific racial group under the "Other" race category. Persons with a written entry such as Laotian, Thai, or Tongan, were tabulated and published as "Other race" in the 100- percent processing operation in 1980, but were reclassified as "Other Asian and Pacific Islander" in 1980 sample tabulations. In 1980 special reports on the Asian or Pacific Islander populations, data were shown separately for "Other Asian" and "Other Pacific Islander."

The 1970 questionnaire did not have separate race categories for Asian Indian, Vietnamese, Samoan, and Guamanian. These persons indicated their race in the "Other" category and later, through the editing process, were assigned to a specific group. For example, in 1970, Asian Indians were reclassified as "White," while Vietnamese, Guamanians, and Samoans were included in the "Other" category.

Another difference between 1990 and preceding censuses is the approach taken when persons of Spanish/Hispanic origin did not report in a specific race category but reported as "Other race" or "Other." These persons commonly provided a write-in entry such as Mexican, Venezuelan, or Latino. In the 1990 and 1980 censuses, these entries remained in the "Other race" or "Other" category, respectively. In the 1970 census, most of these persons were included in the "White" category.