Income Data for Policy Analysis: A Comparative Assessment of Eight Surveys. Standard Tabulations by Family Income

12/23/2008

A common set of tabulations by categories of family income was prepared for each of the five general populations surveys and the PSID. Tables III.4 and III.5 depict the first two tables from the standard tabulations by family income. The pair of tables illustrates the tabulations for the full universe of persons classified, first, by poverty relative (III.4) and, in the second table, by quintile of family income (III.5). This pair of tables was repeated for eight subpopulations:

  • Persons receiving SSI
  • Persons in families with welfare and/or Food Stamps
  • Persons enrolled in Medicaid or SCHIP in the prior calendar year
  • Persons currently enrolled in Medicaid or SCHIP (or, for SIPP and MEPS, persons enrolled in a specified month)
  • Persons never insured in the prior calendar year
  • Persons currently uninsured
  • Persons with earned income in the prior calendar year
  • Persons with wage and salary income in the prior calendar year

For the NHIS and PSID, which do not provide total income for each person, the tabulation of aggregate income in each pair of tables was replaced by a single line tabulation of aggregate family income.

TABLE III.4

TABLE SHELL, POVERTY RELATIVES: ALL PERSONS
All Persons   Millions of Persons by Family Income as % of Poverty
Sample
Size
<100 % 100-
<200%
200-
<400%
400%+ Total
Gender
Male            
Female            
Race/Ethnicity
White, non-Hispanic            
Black, non-Hispanic            
Hispanic            
Age
<18            
18-64            
65+            
62+            
Family composition
Singles (age 18 or older)            
Childless couples1            
Single parents with children2            
Children in single-parent families            
Husband-wife families with childrena, 2            
Children in husband-wife families            
Health status fair or poor            
With inpatient stay            

Source:   Mathematica Policy Research.

1.Tabulations count only the heads of families, with related subfamilies counted separately from primary families.
2.Children are restricted to own, never-married children under 18 within the same family or subfamily.

TABLE III.4 (CONTINUED)

TABLE SHELL, POVERTY RELATIVES: ALL PERSONS
All Persons   CY 2002 Income ($Billions) by Family Poverty Level
Sample
Size
<100 % 100-
<200%
200-
<400%
400%+ Total
Gender
Male            
Female            
Race/Ethnicity
White, non-Hispanic            
Black, non-Hispanic            
Hispanic            
Age
<18            
18-64            
65+            
62+            
Family composition
Singles (age 18 or older)            
Childless couples3            
Single parents with childrena, 4            
Children in single-parent families            
Husband-wife families with childrena, 4            
Children in husband-wife families            
Health status fair or poor            
With inpatient stay            

Source: Mathematica Policy Research.

Note: Income by gender, race/ethnicity, age, and health status is the sum of total personal income.  Income by family composition is the sum of total family income with related subfamily income included only in the primary family.

3.Family income is tabulated only for heads of families, with heads of related subfamilies excluded.
4.Children are restricted to own, never-married children under 18 within the same family or subfamily.

 

TABLE III.5

TABLE SHELL, QUINTILES: ALL PERSONS
All Persons   Millions of Persons by Family Income Quintile
Sample
Size
Lowest Second Third Fourth Highest Total
Gender
Male              
Female              
Race/Ethnicity
White, non-Hispanic              
Black, non-Hispanic              
Hispanic              
Age
<18              
18-64              
65+              
62+              
Family composition
Singles (age 18 or older)              
Childless couples1              
Single parents with children2              
Children in single-parent families              
Husband-wife families with childrena, 1,2              
Children in husband-wife families              
Health status fair or poor              
With inpatient stay              

Source:   Mathematica Policy Research.

1.Tabulations count only the heads of families, with related subfamilies counted separately from primary families.
2.Children are restricted to own, never-married children under 18 within the same family or subfamily.

TABLE SHELL, QUINTILES: ALL PERSONS(continued)
All Persons   CY 2002 Income ($Billions) by Family Income Quintile
Sample
Size
Lowest Second Third Fourth Highest Total
Gender
Male              
Female              
Race/Ethnicity
White, non-Hispanic              
Black, non-Hispanic              
Hispanic              
Age
<18              
18-64              
65+              
62+              
Family composition
Singles (age 18 or older)              
Childless couples3              
Single parents with children4              
Children in single-parent families              
Husband-wife families with childrena, 3,4              
Children in husband-wife families              
Health status fair or poor              
With inpatient stay              

Source: Mathematica Policy Research.

Note: Income by gender, race/ethnicity, age, and health status is the sum of total personal income.  Income by family composition is the sum of total family income with related subfamily income included only in the primary family.

3.Family income is tabulated only for heads of families, with heads of related subfamilies excluded
4.Children are restricted to own, never-married children under 18 within the same family or subfamily

These tabulations focus on total income, whether for the population as a whole or, more importantly, within poverty level or quintile of family income. There are other ways to approach the comparison of survey estimates of income—for example, by highlighting recipiency, or examining other aspects of the distribution of income than those that we have chosen, or even applying each survey to a set of illustrative policy analyses. An alternative approach would have given us information on different aspects of the comparative quality of income data collected in the eight surveys. Ideally, with more time and resources, we would have taken multiple approaches. Given the limits on the study’s scope, we feel that our selected approach, which was supported by the TAG, yielded a broad range of findings that greatly enhance our understanding of income data across surveys.  

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