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Census Long Form Definition

Every ten years, the Bureau of the Census conducts a complete enumeration of all residents in the United States. This process involves gathering extensive information about people and where they live through the use of a detailed questionnaire -- referred to as the Long Form.

An entire section of the Long Form includes questions concerning household income. PJs may choose to use this definition of "annual income" when determining the eligibility of applicants to their HOME programs.

Types of Income to Count

The types of income included and excluded in the current Census Long Form definition of annual income is based upon the Long Form used in the 1990 census. The following table lists the income inclusions and exclusions set forth in the 1990 Census Long Form.


  1. Wages, salary, commissions, bonuses and tips from all jobs before deductions for taxes, bonds, dues or other items.
  2. Self-employment net income (after business expenses) from non-farm business, including proprietorship and partnership.
  3. Farm self-employment net income (after operating expenses). Include amounts from land rented for shares.
  4. Any of the following:
    • Interest received or credited to checking and savings accounts, money market funds, certificates of deposit, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), KEOGH retirement plans and government bonds.
    • Dividends received, credited or reinvested from ownership of stocks or mutual funds.
    • Profit (or loss) from royalties or rental of land, buildings or real estate or roomers or boarders. (Income received from self-employed persons whose primary source of income is renting properties or from royalties should be included in number 2 or 3, above.)
    • Income from regular payments from an estate and or trust fund.
  5. Social security or railroad retirement (before Medicare deductions).
  6. Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) or other public assistance or public welfare payments.
  7. Retirement, survivor or disability pensions from companies and unions; Federal, State and local governments; and the U.S. military. Includes regular income from annuities, IRAs or KEOGH retirement plans.
  8. Other sources of income received regularly, including Veterans Administration (VA) payments, unemployment compensation, child support or alimony and all other regular payments (e.g., Armed Forces transfer payments, assistance from private charities, and regular contributions from persons not living in the household).


  1. In-kind pay such as food, free rent, etc.
  2. Profit (or loss) of incorporated businesses owned by the applicant.
  3. Profit (or loss) of incorporated farm businesses owned by the applicant and amounts from land rented for cash.
  4. Any of the following:
    • Refunds or rebates of any kind.
    • Withdrawals from savings of any kind.
    • Capital gains (or losses) from the sale of homes, shares of stock, etc.
    • Inheritances or insurance settlements.
    • Any type of loan.
  5. Assistance to pay for heating or cooling costs.

Treatment of Assets

Income from certain assets must be carefully considered when calculating income under the Census Long Form definition of annual income.
The current list of Census Long Form income inclusions and exclusions includes the following types of income from assets in the income calculation:

  • Interest,
  • Dividends,
  • Profit from royalties or real estate, and
  • Income from payments from an estate or trust fund.

The primary difference between the Part 5 and the Census Long Form definitions of annual income is in the treatment of assets. The calculation of Census Long Form annual income does not require the asset calculations necessary when using the Part 5 definition.

In addition, some types of assets are not included in the Census Long Form calculation. Examples include:

  • Withdrawals of savings,
  • Capital gains (or losses) from the sale of homes, stock, and other property,
  • Insurance settlements, and
  • Assets disposed of for less than fair market value within two years prior to the income determination.

Content current as of 30 July 2009   Follow this link to go  Back to top