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US Census Bureau News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, AUG. 26, 2004, AT 10:15 A.M. EDT

   
  CB04-144
   
Public Information Office Press kit
(301) 763-3030/763-3691 Income
301) 457-3670 (fax) Poverty
(301) 457-1037 (TDD) Health Insurance
e-mail: pio@census.gov American Community Survey
   

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.

Income

Overview

  • 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).

Regions

  • 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.

Nativity

  • 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.

Earnings

  • 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

  • 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.

Poverty

Overview

  • 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.

Age

  • 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.

States

  • 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.

Nativity

  • 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

Income

          Counties

  • 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

          Counties

  • 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

          Counties

  • 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.

Health Insurance

Overview

  • 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.

Nativity

  • 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.

Regions

  • 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.

Methodology

     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>.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | (301) 763-3030 |  Last Revised: March 23, 2006