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Income Stable, Poverty Rate Increases, Percentage of Americans
Without Health Insurance Unchanged
   

      Real median household income remained unchanged between 2003 and 2004 at $44,389, according to a report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. Meanwhile, the nationís official poverty rate rose from 12.5 percent in 2003 to 12.7 percent in 2004. The percentage of the nationís population without health insurance coverage remained stable, at 15.7 percent in 2004. The number of people with health insurance increased by 2.0 million to 245.3 million between 2003 and 2004, and the number without such coverage rose by 800,000 to 45.8 million.

     These findings are contained in the Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2004 [PDF] report. The reportís data were compiled from information collected in the 2005 Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) to the Current Population Survey (CPS).

 

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 news release have undergone statistical testing, and all comparisons are significant at the 90-percent confidence level, unless otherwise noted.
 

     Also released today were tabulations from the 2004 American Community Survey (ACS), some of which are included in the report: Income, Earnings and Poverty from the 2004 American Community Survey [PDF].

     The ACS is a powerful new tool. In the past, local policymakers had to choose between using old local data from the last census and new national data. The ACS provides a new level of local timeliness, giving policymakers current local data. Gathered from the largest household survey in the United States, the ACS data herein is based on the collection of information from 800,000 addresses sampled during the 2004 survey period.

     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.

Current Population Survey

The 2005 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement shows the following results:

Income

Overview

  • 2004 marked the second consecutive year in which real median household income showed no change.

Race and Hispanic Origin

  • Real median household income did not change between 2003 and 2004 for non-Hispanic whites, blacks or Asians or for households with Hispanic householders.

     
  • Black households had the lowest median income in 2004 ($30,134) among race groups. Asian households had the highest median income ($57,518). The median income for non-Hispanic white households was $48,977. Median income for Hispanic households was $34,241.

     
  • Comparison of two-year moving averages (2002-2003 and 2003-2004) showed that the real median income for households with householders who reported American Indian and Alaska native as their race was statistically unchanged. The same was true for native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander households.

Regions

  • Real median household income remained unchanged between 2003 and 2004 in three of the four census regions ó Northeast ($47,994), West ($47,680) and South ($40,773). The exception was the Midwest, where income declined 2.8 percent, to $44,657. The difference in income between the Northeast and West was not statistically significant.

     
  • The South continued to have the lowest median household income of all four regions. The Northeast and West had the highest incomes among regions.

Nativity

  • Real median income remained unchanged for native as well as for foreign-born households between 2003 and 2004. Native and foreign-born households had a median income in 2004 of $45,319 and $39,421, respectively.

Earnings

  • Real median earnings of men age 15 and older who worked full-time, year-round declined 2.3 percent between 2003 and 2004, to $40,798. Women with similar work experience saw their earnings decline by 1.0 percent, to $31,223. Reflecting the larger fall in the earnings of men, the ratio of female-to-male earnings for full-time, year-round workers was 77 cents on the dollar, up from 76 cents in 2003.

Poverty

Overview

  • There were 37.0 million people in poverty (12.7 percent) in 2004, up from 35.9 million (12.5 percent) in 2003.

     
  • There were 7.9 million families in poverty in 2004, up from 7.6 million in 2003. The poverty rate for families remained unchanged at 10.2 percent. The poverty rate and the number in poverty showed no change for the different type of families.

     
  • 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 2004 was an income of $19,307; for a family of three, $15,067; for a family of two, $12,334; and for unrelated individuals, $9,645.

Race and Hispanic Origin (Race data refer to people reporting a single race only.)

  • In 2004, the poverty rate declined for Asians (9.8 percent in 2004, down from 11.8 percent in 2003), remained unchanged for Hispanics (21.9 percent) and blacks (24.7 percent) and rose for non-Hispanic whites (8.6 percent in 2004, up from 8.2 percent in 2003).

     
  • The poverty rate of American Indians and Alaska natives did not change when comparing two-year averages for 2002-2003 and 2003-2004. The same was true of native Hawaiians and other Pacific islanders.

Age

  • For all children under 18, both the 2004 poverty rate (17.8 percent) and the number in poverty (13.0 million) were unchanged from 2003.

     
  • The poverty rate increased for people 18 to 64 years old (from 10.8 percent in 2003 to 11.3 percent in 2004), but declined for those age 65 and older (from 10.2 percent in 2003 to 9.8 percent in 2004).

Nativity

  • The native-born population had increases in both their poverty rate (from 11.8 percent in 2003 to 12.1 percent in 2004) and their number in poverty (from 30.0 million in 2003 to 31.0 million in 2004). Foreign-born naturalized citizens had a 2004 poverty rate of 9.8 percent, compared with 21.6 percent for those who had not become citizens; both rates were unchanged from 2003.

Regions

  • The Midwest was the only region to show an increase in their poverty rate Ė 11.6 percent in 2004, up from 10.7 percent in 2003. In 2004, the poverty rates for the Northeast (11.6 percent), South (14.1 percent) and West (12.6 percent) were unchanged from 2003. The South continued to have the highest poverty rate.

Health Insurance Coverage

Overview

  • The percentage of the nationís population without health insurance coverage remained unchanged, at 15.7 percent in 2004.

     
  • The percentage of people covered by employment-based health insurance declined from 60.4 percent in 2003 to 59.8 percent in 2004.

     
  • The percentage of people covered by government health insurance programs rose in 2004, from 26.6 percent to 27.2 percent, driven by increases in the percentage of people with Medicaid coverage, from 12.4 percent in 2003 to 12.9 percent in 2004.

     
  • The proportion and number of uninsured children did not change in 2004, remaining at 11.2 percent or 8.3 million.

Race and Hispanic Origin (Race data refer to those reporting a single race only.)

  • The uninsured rate in 2004 was 11.3 percent for non-Hispanic whites and 19.7 percent for blacks, both unchanged from 2003. The uninsured rate for Asians declined from 18.8 percent to 16.8 percent.

     
  • The uninsured rate for Hispanics, who may be of any race, was 32.7 percent in 2004 ó unchanged from 2003.

     
  • Based on a three-year average (2002-2004), 29.0 percent of people who reported American Indian and Alaska native as their race were without coverage, higher than the rate for native Hawaiians and other Pacific islanders (21.8 percent) and for those of other race groups, but lower than that of Hispanics. Comparisons of two-year moving averages (2002-2003 and 2003-2004) showed that the uninsured rates for American Indians and Alaska natives and for native Hawaiians and other Pacific islanders did not change.

Nativity

  • While the proportion of the foreign-born population without health insurance in 2004 (33.7 percent) was unchanged from 2003, the rate for the native-born population increased (from 13.0 percent in 2003 to 13.3 percent in 2004).

Regions

  • The Midwest had the lowest uninsured rate in 2004 (at 11.9 percent), followed by the Northeast (13.2 percent), the West (17.4 percent) and the South (18.3 percent).

American Community Survey

The national findings regarding median income and poverty rate are consistent between the CPS and the ACS. When examining localities of 250,000 or more residents, the 2004 American Community Survey shows the following results concerning income, poverty and earnings:

Income

  • For counties of 250,000 or more people in 2004, median household income ranged from $88,133 in Fairfax County, Va., to $24,778 in Hidalgo County, Texas. For cities of similar size, median household incomes ranged from $71,765 in San Jose, Calif., to $24,031 in Miami, Fla.

     
  • Among the 37 counties with populations of 1 million or more in 2004, 32 experienced no statistically significant change in median household income from 2003 to 2004. Three counties (King, Wash.; Palm Beach, Fla.; and Philadelphia, Pa.) experienced declines; two counties (Fairfax, Va.; and Orange, Calif.) showed increase.

Poverty

  • Among counties with 250,000 or more people in 2004, poverty rates ranged from 2.6 percent in Johnson, Kan., to 43.6 percent in Hidalgo, Texas. Among places of a similar size, the poverty rates ranged from 7.4 percent for Anchorage, Alaska, to 33.6 percent for Detroit.

     
  • Among the 37 counties with 1 million or more people in 2004, seven experienced changes in their poverty rates between 2003 and 2004. Of those seven, Broward, Fla., and Oakland, Mich., showed decreases, while Allegheny, Pa., Bronx, N.Y.; King, Wash.; Nassau, N.Y.; and Wayne, Mich., had increases. Among the nine cities of this size, New York, N.Y., saw its poverty rate rise, while poverty in the other places remained unchanged.

Earnings

  • Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and the District of Columbia had among the highest median earnings for both men and women who worked full-time, year-round.

     
  • In each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, womenís earnings were less than menís in 2004. The District of Columbia was the area with the greatest parity between menís and womenís earnings. There, women earned 91 cents for every dollar that men earned.

Earnings by Industry

  • Among the 20 major industry sectors, men earned the most in 2004 in the management of companies and enterprises sector ($77,754). For women, there were five sectors where median earnings were about $40,000 or more: management of companies and enterprises ($41,608); mining ($41,516); professional, scientific and technical services ($41,398); utilities ($40,981); and information ($40,447).

     
  • In each of the major industry sectors, men earned more than women. The sectors where the earnings gap between men and women was the largest were management of companies and enterprises, where women earned 54 cents for every dollar that men earned; finance and insurance (57 cents); and professional, scientific and technical services (60 cents).

Earnings by Occupation

  • Among the 22 major occupational groups, men earned the most in legal occupations, such as lawyers, judges and law clerks (more than $100,000). Among women, those in computer and mathematical occupations had the highest median earnings ($56,585).

     
  • Among the major occupational groups, womenís earnings as a percentage of menís earnings were about 90 percent or higher for the following groups: installation, maintenance and repair; community and social services; construction and extraction; and healthcare support. In contrast, womenís earnings as a percentage of menís earnings were about 65 percent or less for legal occupations, sales and related occupations and healthcare practitioner and technical occupations.

     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. Both are surveys and 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 ACS data, visit <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/UseData/Accuracy/Accuracy1.htm>.

 

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Copyright 2006 Latino Boom: An Anthology of U.S. Latino Literature, Pearson Education, Inc.
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Last Updated: February 26, 2011