Notes on income, race and household types in 2009

The United States Census Bureau released its annual report on Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States for 2009 last week.

As expected, income and health care insurance coverage were down compared to 2008 while the poverty rate increased in 2009 compared to the previous year. That’s not particularly starnge since the huge increase in unemployment from 2008 to 2009 reduced incomes and left unemployed at least temporarily without health insurance.

Married couples suffered the largest statistically significant income decline (-1.2%) of all household types. The 1.1% decline for “female householder, no husband present” was not statistically significant.

The tables below show some key high-level characteristics of American society.

Households by type

The table below shows the number of total households (in millions) as well as households that are families headed by married a couple and family households headed by a woman, no husband present. In the table I call that household “Single mom” but it could be a grandmother or other woman who isn’t the biological or legal mother of the chidlren in the family.

2006 2007 2008 2009
Households 116.0 116.8 117.2 117.5
Married 58.9 58.4 59.1 58.4
Single mom 14.4 14.4 14.5 14.8

Households by type and income

This table shows the median income of all and various househould types in current US dollars (current meaning the numbers are not adjusted for inflation from one year to the next).

2006 2007 2008 2009
Households 49,568 50,233 50,112 49,777
Married couple 71,694 72,785 72,733 71,830
Single mom 32,721 33,370 32,947 32,597

The practical problem with single-mom households is well described by Andrew Sum in the interview with CommonWealth Magazine:

So you are creating the situation where more and more young children are being raised in single-parent families that are going to face severe income inadequacy problems. They cannot pay taxes, they cannot contribute to state and federal tax coffers, making it very difficult for us to balance our budget in the years ahead, and the problem has gotten worse every year since the late ’80s.

These kids who grow up in these low-income single-parent families have basically no chance of making it in the modern economy. They have a very high drop out rate, very low college-attendance rate, very low college-graduation rate.

Households, total and by race

The number of households in millions, both by race and for the United States. I rounded to whole millions. Two things are worth noting: Even though there many more Hispanics than blacks in America there are actually more black than Hispanic households. This is the result of much higher rates of single-momhood among blacks than Latinos. The other is that because of the rounding it seems as if the number of Latino households is stagnant, but it is not, having risen from less than 13 million in 2006 to almost 13.5 million in 2009.

2006 2007 2008 2009
All 116 117 117 117
White 83 83 83 83
Black 14 15 15 15
Latino 13 13 13 13
Asian 4 5 5 5

Household income by race

This table shows the household income by race and for all households. The general pattern is the same for type of household: income went up in 2007 then down in 2008 and 2009.

2006 2007 2008 2009
White 53,910 54,920 55,319 54,461
Black 32,876 33,916 34,088 32,584
Latino 38,853 38,679 37,769 38,039
Asian 66,060 66,103 65,388 65,469
Total 49,568 50,233 50,112 49,777

Per Capita income by race

This table shows the per capita income by race. The most interesting data point is probably that blacks have higher income per capita than Latinos even though they lower median income per household. Part of that is that Hispanics have higher birthrates which means more people per paycheck, so to speak, hence lower income per person.

2006 2007 2008 2009
White 31,294 31,051 31,194 30,941
Black 18,410 18,428 18,336 18,135
Latino 15,858 15,603 15,615 15,063
Asian 31,339 29,901 30,177 30,653
Total 27,100 26,804 26,862 26,530

People by race

The last table shows the number of people by race (in millions) according to the United States Census Bureau’s estimates. Most notable is the rapid growth of the number of Hispanics – fueled by immigration and high birth rates (Hispanics make up about 15% of the population but a quarter of all new borns) – and the stagnant size of the white population. In 1989 there were almost five white births for every Hispanic birth, today the ratio is less than 2.3:1 (Source: National Vital Statistics Reports, Volume 57, Number 7, January 7, 2009).

2006 2007 2008 2009
White 196 197 197 197
Black 37 38 38 39
Latino 45 46 48 49
Asian 13 13 13 14
Total 297 299 301 304

The data listed in the tables come from Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States for 2007 and 2009.