Total money income received in calendar year 1979, ascertained on a sample basis for all persons 15 years old and over. Total income is the sum of amounts reported separately for income from wages and salaries; nonfarm self-employment, farm self-employment; interest, dividends, and net rental; Social Security; public assistance; and all other sources.
The figures represent the amount of income received before deductions for personal income taxes, Social Security, bond purchases, union dues, medicare deductions, etc.
Receipts from the following sources were not included as income: money received from the sale of property (unless the recipient was engaged in the business of selling such property, in which case, the net proceeds would be counted as income from self-employment); the value of income "in kind" such as free living quarters or food produced and consumed in the home; withdrawal of bank deposits; money borrowed; tax refunds; exchange of money between relatives living in the same household; and gifts and lump-sum inheritances, insurance payments, and other types of lump-sum receipts. The seven specific types of income recorded are further defined under Income Type.
Income in 1979 is reported in several different combinations. Household Income in 1979 and Family Income in 1979 are defined separately in this glossary. When entitled "Income In 1979," the data refer to the money income of Persons 15 years old and over. (Where family members received income jointly, appropriate amounts were to be apportioned among specific household members.) Income in 1979 is also tabulated for "unrelated individuals 15 years old and over," i.e., persons not accounted for in family income tabulations. Where a measure of income is to be interrelated with occupation or other work force characteristics, income other than earnings is generally excluded. See Income Type -- "Earnings."
Income is tabulated in intervals, for example, less than $5.000; $5.000 to 37,499; $7,500 to $9,999 ...$35.000 to $49,999; $50,000 or more. The highest income interval to be published in reports is $50,000 or more; on summary tape files the top interval is $75,000 or more. On census basic records incomes from each source are recorded in $10 intervals up to $100,000 and in $1.000 intervals from $100,000 to $999,000. Income amounts of $l, 000,000 or more are recorded as $999,500. Net losses up to $10,000 are also recorded in ten dollar intervals. Net losses of $10,000 or more are recorded as $-9995. High incomes are grouped together on public-use microdata, with "$75.000 or more as a single category, to avoid identification of individuals.
To avoid inconsistencies in median income figures for the same population as presented in different reports, all medians for family and household income in the 1980 census are based on the same set of 17 categories available on summary tape files, regardless of the number of intervals shown in various printed tables. Thus, the median shown in a report is frequently more precise than one the user could compute from the intervals shown in the report. Pareto interpolation is used rather than linear interpolation when the width of the income interval is more than $2,500.
For families and unrelated individuals, the median income is based on the distribution of the total number of families and unrelated individuals; whereas for persons, the median income is based on the distribution of persons 15 years old and over with income.
When the median income falls in the terminal category of a distribution, the method of presentation in reports is to show the initial value of the terminal category followed by a plus sign; thus, for example, if the median income falls in the terminal category "$50,000 or more," it is shown as "$50,000 +"in reports or as "$50,001" on STF's.
The mean income is the amount obtained by dividing the total income of a particular statistical universe (termed "aggregate income" in STF documentation) by the number of units in that universe. Thus, mean family income is obtained by dividing total family income by the total number of families. Mean income for persons is obtained by dividing the total income of persons (including patients or inmates in institutional quarters) by the number of persons with income. When the mean income for an area or population subgroup is a net loss, the dollar amount is shown preceded by a sinus sign (e.g., -$123).
Care should be exercised in using and interpreting mean income values in the statistics for small subgroups of the population. Since the mean is strongly influenced by extreme values in the distribution, it is especially susceptible to the effects of sampling variability, misreporting, and processing errors. The median is not affected by extreme values and is, therefore, a better measure than the mean when the population base is small. The mean, nevertheless, is shown for most small-area tabulations because, when weighted according to the number of cases, the means can be added to obtain summary measures for areas and groups other than those shown.
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 (including patients or inmates in institutional quarters) in that group.
Since questionnaire entries for income are frequently based on memory and not on records, many persons tend to forget minor or irregular sources of income, and, therefore, underreport their income. In addition, there are errors of reporting due to misunderstanding of the income questions. One such error is the reporting of gross instead of net dollar amounts for the two questions on net self-employment income, which results in an overstatement of these items. Such instances of overreporting would have an impact on the level of mean nonfat or farm self-employment income and mean total income.
Many reporting errors are rectified through the coding and the computer editing procedures, with the result that consistency of reported income items with work experience, occupation, and class-of-worker information is improved. For example, if a person reported that he .or she was self-employed on his or her own farm, not incorporated, but had reported wage and salary earnings only, the latter amount is shifted to net farm self-employment income. Another type of problem involves nonreporting of income. Where income information was not reported, editing and allocation procedures imputed appropriate values (either "none" or positive or negative dollar amounts) for the missing entries. These procedures will be described in more detail in appendix D, "Accuracy of the Data," to reports in the PC80-1-C and -D series.
The income data obtained in the 1980 census cover money income only. The fact that many farm families receive an important part of their income in the form of "free" 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. Nonmoney income is also received by some nonfarm residents. Such income often takes the form of business expense accounts, use of business transportation and facilities, or partial compensation by business for medical and educational expenses. Many low-income families also receive income "in kind" from public welfare programs (e.g., food stamps).
Finally, in relating income to occupation, family size, housing costs, and most other characteristics, the user must bear in mind that income figures refer to 1979 whereas other characteristics are as of the time of enumeration, generally April 1980. On the other hand, information is collected on work and unemployment in 1979, facilitating comparisons with income in 1979.
Comparability with income tax data
For several reasons, the income data from the census are not directly comparable with those which may be obtained from statistical summaries of income tax returns. Income, as defined for tax purposes, differs somewhat from the Bureau of the Census 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.
Comparability with Social Security Administration earnings record data
The earnings from the census are not directly comparable with earnings records of the Social Security Administration. The earnings data for 1979 exclude 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 $22,900 in 1979 are not covered by earnings records. Finally, since census data are obtained from household questionnaires, they differ from Social Security Administration earnings record data, which are based upon employers' reports and the Federal income tax returns of self-employed persons.
Comparability with Bureau of Economic Analysis income series
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 each State and selected standard metropolitan statistical areas. Aggregate income estimates based on the income statistics shown in the 1980 census would be different from (and generally less than) those shown in the BEA income series for several reasons. The Bureau of the Census 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 census income series includes some items not included in the census income data, 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, 1980. On the other hand, the census income data include contributions for support received from persons not residing in the same household and employee contributions for Social Security.
Data on income last year have been collected in each census since 1940. Income questions were asked in essentially the same way in 1970 as in 1980, except that the separation of interest, dividends and net rental income from other sources is new for 1980 (possibly leading to more complete reporting of income from these sources). Another new feature was the instruction that the respondent should add up the income figures from the various sources and report total income on a separate line on the form. This feature was to help respondents avoid counting the sane income in more than one category and encourage recall of income from other sources. The 1980 census obtained income for persons 15 years old and over; the 1970 universe also included 14-year-olds.
Income intervals reported i3 1980 publications concentrate on higher dollar amounts than did their 1970 counterparts, reflecting inflation. In comparing income data for 1979 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 adjustment for changes in prices is made. The ratio of the average Consumer Price Index in 1979 to the corresponding figure in 1969 is 1.98, and this is the factor used in converting 1969 median and mean income figures in current dollars to constant 1979 dollars for comparison with 1979 median and mean income figures.
See also: "Family Income In 1979;" "Household Income In 1979;" "Income Type;" "Poverty Status".