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New American Community Survey Statistics for Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Available for States and Local Areas

Pennsylvania Access the Pennsylvania State Data Center to see what this year’s estimates mean for Pennsylvania

NEWS RELEASE: CB18-145

SEPT. 13, 2018 The U.S. Census Bureau today released its most detailed look at America’s people, places and economy with new statistics on income, poverty, health insurance and more than 40 other topics from the American Community Survey (ACS).

Many large metropolitan areas saw an increase in income and a decrease in poverty rates between 2016 and 2017. During that same period, the health insurance coverage rate was 91.4 percent for the civilian noninstitutionalized population living inside metropolitan areas and 90.3 percent for the population living outside metropolitan areas. Today’s release provides statistics for U.S. communities with populations of 65,000 or more.

“The American Community Survey provides a wide range of important statistics about all communities in the United States,” Census Bureau Social, Economic and Housing Statistics Division Chief David Waddington said. “It gives communities the current information they need to plan investments and services. Retailers, homebuilders, fire departments, and town and city planners are among the many private- and public-sector decision-makers who count on these annual statistics.”

Below are some of the local-level income, poverty and health insurance statistics from the ACS that complement the national-level statistics released on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. These national-level statistics are from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS is the leading source for national-level data on income, poverty and health insurance, while the ACS is the leading source for community and local-level data.

Income

·       Real median household income in the United States increased 2.6 percent between 2016 and 2017. The 2017 U.S. median household income was $60,336.

·       The 2017 median household income was the highest measured by the ACS since it was fully implemented in 2005.

·       Median household income was lower than the U.S. median in 29 states and higher in 18 states and the District of Columbia. Nebraska, Oregon and Wyoming had median incomes not statistically different from the U.S. median. Visit the news graphic to see where the rest of the states fall.

·       Median household income increased in 17 of the 25 most populous metropolitan areas between 2016 and 2017. None of these 25 metropolitan areas experienced a statistically significant decrease. Changes for eight of these 25 metropolitan areas were not statistically significant.

Income Inequality

·       Income inequality, as measured by the Gini index, was essentially unchanged from 2016 to 2017. The Gini index for the United States in the 2017 ACS (0.482) was not statistically different from the 2016 ACS estimate. The Gini index is a standard economic measure of income inequality. A score of 0.0 is perfect equality in income distribution. A score of 1.0 indicates total inequality where one household has all of the income.

·       Five states (California, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana and New York), the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico had Gini indices higher than the United States. Ten were not statistically different from the U.S. Gini index; the remaining 35 were lower.

·       Most states experienced no statistical change in income inequality from 2016 to 2017. Income inequality increased in four states: Alaska, Delaware, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Income inequality decreased in two states: Alabama and California. 

Poverty

·       Between 2016 and 2017, poverty rates declined in 20 states and the District of Columbia. The poverty rate increased in two states: Delaware and West Virginia. Delaware saw its rate increase from 11.7 percent to 13.6 percent and the rate for West Virginia rose from 17.9 percent to 19.1 percent.

·       States with poverty rates of 18.0 percent or higher were Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and West Virginia.

·       Thirteen states had poverty rates of 11.0 percent or lower. Visit the news graphic to see the 2017 poverty rates for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

·       In 13 of the 25 most populous metropolitan areas, the poverty rate declined between 2016 and 2017. The poverty rate declined for the third consecutive year in eight of these 13 metropolitan areas.

Health Insurance

·       Between 2016 and 2017, the health insurance coverage rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points for the civilian noninstitutionalized population living inside metropolitan areas. There was no statistically significant change in the health insurance coverage rate for the population living outside metropolitan areas during this period.

·       In 2017, the Boston metropolitan area had the highest health insurance coverage rate (97.0 percent) among the 25 most populous metropolitan areas. The Houston metropolitan area had the lowest rate (81.8 percent). Visit the news graphic to see coverage rates for the 25 most populous metropolitan areas.

·       Between 2016 and 2017, the percentage of people covered by health insurance increased in four of the 25 most populous metropolitan areas. Increases in the rate of coverage ranged from 0.4 percentage points to 1.0 percentage points. In addition, six metro areas had decreases in the percentage of people covered by health insurance. Decreases in the rate of coverage ranged from 0.4 percentage points to 0.9 percentage points. The remaining 15 most populous metro areas showed no significant change.

·       Between 2013 and 2017, the Los Angeles, Miami and Riverside metropolitan areas experienced the largest increases in the rate of health insurance coverage among the 25 most populous metropolitan areas. Their rates of health insurance coverage increased by 9 percentage points or more. 

·       National and state-level health insurance data from the CPS and ACS were released earlier this week.

For more information on the topics included in the ACS, ranging from educational attainment to computer use to commuting, please visit census.gov. To access the full set of statistics released today, please visit American FactFinder.

Additional Topics and Findings Released Today From the ACS

New Data Dissemination Preview Platform

The Census Bureau is currently working to streamline online data dissemination to be more customer-driven and user-friendly by creating one centralized and standardized platform to underlie searches on census.gov. Beginning Sept. 13, some 2017 ACS statistics, including detailed tables, data profiles, subject tables and comparison profiles, will be available on the preview site at data.census.gov, in parallel with the data released on American FactFinder. We encourage you to take a look and provide your thoughts on our work in progress at cedsci.feedback@census.gov

New Data Visualization Tools

The Census Bureau’s ACS Digital Data Wheel allows users to explore and compare social, economic, housing, and demographic and economic characteristics from all states, U.S. congressional districts and metropolitan statistical areas.

The second visualization, “What can you learn from the American Community Survey?” answers commonly asked demographic and socio-economic questions using ACS data. Users can visually explore characteristics of states, U.S. congressional districts and metropolitan statistical areas with an interactive map.

Additional Annual Releases

In the upcoming months the Census Bureau will release additional ACS data, including 2017 ACS supplemental tables and ACS five-year statistics (2013-2017).

These statistics would not be possible without the participation of the randomly selected households throughout the country that participated in the ACS.

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