U.S. Department of Commerce
State & County QuickFacts

Per Capita Income

Source: U. S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 5-Year Estimates. Updated every year. http://factfinder2.census.gov

Definitions:

Per capita income is the mean money income received in the past 12 months computed for every man, woman, and child in a geographic area. It is derived by dividing the total income of all people 15 years old and over in a geographic area by the total population in that area. Note -- income is not collected for people under 15 years old even though those people are included in the denominator of per capita income. This measure is rounded to the nearest whole dollar.

Money income includes amounts reported separately for wage or salary income; net self-employment income; interest, dividends, or net rental or royalty income or income from estates and trusts; Social Security or Railroad Retirement income; Supplemental Security Income (SSI); public assistance or welfare payments; retirement, survivor, or disability pensions; and all other income.

Receipts from the following sources are not included as income: capital gains, money received from the sale of property (unless the recipient was engaged in the business of selling such property); the value of income “in kind” from food stamps, public housing subsidies, medical care, employer contributions for individuals, etc.; withdrawal of bank deposits; money borrowed; tax refunds; exchange of money between relatives living in the same household; gifts and lump-sum inheritances, insurance payments, and other types of lump-sum receipts.

Scope and Methodology:

These data are collected in the American Community Survey (ACS). The data for each geographic area are presented together with margins of error at factfinder2.census.gov. The data are period estimates, that is, they represent the characteristics of the population over a specific 60-month data collection period.

Since answers to income questions are frequently based on memory and not on records, many people tended to forget minor or sporadic sources of income and, therefore, underreport their income. Underreporting tends to be more pronounced for income sources that are not derived from earnings, such as public assistance, interest, dividends, and net rental income.

Margins of Error (MOE). ACS estimates are based on a sample and are subject to sampling variability. The degree of uncertainty for an estimate arising from sampling variability is represented through the use of a MOE. The MOE used with ACS estimates can be interpreted as providing a 90 percent probability that the interval defined by the estimate plus the MOE and the estimate minus the MOE (the upper and lower confidence bounds) contains the full population value of the estimate.

For example, suppose the 5-year ACS reported the percentage of people 25 years and older in Birmingham, Alabama who had a bachelor's degree was 21.3 percent and that the MOE associated with this estimate is plus or minus (+/-) 0.9 percent. By adding and subtracting the MOE from the estimate, we can calculate the 90-percent confidence interval for this estimate at 21.3%, +/-0.9%:


21.3% - 0.9% = 20.4% = Lower-bound estimate
21.3% + 0.9% = 22.2% = Upper-bound estimate

Therefore, we can be 90 percent confident that the percent of the population in Birmingham, Alabama of age 25 years and older having a bachelor's degree in 2007-2011 falls somewhere between 20.4 percent and 22.2 percent.

For this Fact and other 5-year Economic Characteristic Facts (listed below), their estimates and margins of error or percents and percent margins of errors can be found on Data Profile - Economic Characteristics. This profile is displayed by geography. Click on the link for "Browse for Data sets (geography picked)" near the top of the Quick facts profile page, click on the link for People QuickLinks/American Community Survey - "Economic Characteristics" for the data profile.


Mean travel time to work (minutes), workers age 16 and over;
Per capita money income in the past 12 months,
Median household income,
Persons below poverty level, percent

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