State Median & Mean Household & Family Income 2012-2014
-- examining patterns of well-being
What is our state of well-being? One of many factors that go into answering this question is income - how to assess our collective financial state of well-being. Here too, income data provide only part of the information required to assess the financial state of well-being.
This section is focused on recent patterns of median and mean household and family income between 2012 and 2014 (most recent estimate as of November 2015), based on American Community Survey 1-year estimates (ACS 2014) for the U.S. overall and by state. The interactive table below provides tools enabling you to compare/analyze geography, income measures and change for areas of interest.
There are many sources of national scope income measures. The ACS median and mean household income measures are used in part because these data are also available with geographic drill-down to the block group level of geography. We are able to assess some aspect of well-being for small area geographies. The ACS also enables analysis of similar income measures for other population groups, such as by race/ethnicity, and for nonfamily households, and others. For areas of 65,000 population and over, the ACS also provides the most recent measures. Data examined here include:
median and mean household income between 2012 and 2014 by state & U.S.
median and mean family income between 2012 and 2014 by state & U.S.
See more about subject matter topics below. Also see more about what is included in how income data and how it is collected below.
Patterns of 2014 Median Household Income by State
The following graphic shows patterns of 2014 median household income (MHI) by state. Blue and green color states are above the U.S. 2014 MHI. Color fill patterns and intervals shown in larger view (click graphic). Bar charts show 2012-2014 change in median family income (green) and median household income (blue).
View developed with CV XE GIS software. Click graphic for larger view.
U.S. by State, larger view, 2014 Median Household Income (MHI) with MHI as labels
Median Compared to Mean
The median and mean both provide measures centrality of the distribution of households (families). The median is that point where half of the households (families) have an income above that point and half of the households (families) have an income below that point. The mean/average is the sum of all household (family) income divided by the number of households (families). Of the four measures included here ($MHI, $AHI, $MFI, $AFI), median household income is the most widely used. This might be due to custom, the desire to simplify analyses, or because users believe that households are the primary buying unit rather than families. That does not make use of $MHI always preferred and the best approach is to examine patterns among each measure and what they "say" together.
For a given geographic area, the mean income measure is almost always higher than median income. The mean/median family income is almost always higher than the mean/median household income. A family is two or more persons, and often includes more than one wage earner. A household might be one person, or include older population, perhaps on a fixed income.
Extending the Geographic Scope of Analysis
The concepts, methods, data and tools used here could be equally applied to metros, congressional districts, public use microdata areas, and for other areas 65,000 population or more (counties, cities, school districts, among others). The 2014 $AHI for New York County, NY/Manhattan is $134,776 compared to $101,025 for the State of New York.
Are Californians better off than New Yorkers?
... using the interactive table .. an example ... pick your state. In making comparisons, note that these measures only tell us only about two recent points in time. The data only tell us about income and two types of income measures. The data are estimates, subject to errors of estimation. The two measures do not provide insights into why the differences exist. Some insights into the structure of the underlying distributions can be determined by clicking the AreaName link. The link opens a new page showing an economic profile for the state/U.S. Within the economic profile are the number of households (families) by income range -- you can see the skewing, or not, within the distribution which may help explain why/how the mean and median are different. Note that the economic profile opens with the 2014 data. There is a link at the left in the profile to open the same profile for a different year.
California 2014 $MHI $61,933 compared to U.S.$53,657 -- CA to US index: 115.42
California 2014 $AHI $88,595 compared to U.S.$75,591 -- CA to US index: 117.20
California 2014 $MFI $71,015 compared to U.S.$65,910 -- CA to US index: 107.74
California 2014 $AFI $98,670 compared to U.S.$88,394 -- CA to US index: 111.62
Examine the change and rates using the table. Click on header column cell to rank on any column/measure. To compute index values, click on a row and copy to clipboard. Paste in Excel/spreadsheet as row1. Click comparison area row and copy to clipboard. Paste in Excel/spreadsheet as row 2. Enter cell computations to compute index values in row 3.
State Median & Mean Household & Family Income: 2012 - 2014 -- Interactive Table
Use the interactive table shown below to examine attributes of ZIP Code areas.
Click column header to sort; again to sort other direction. Usage notes below table.
See related Ranking Tables Main Page
Click ShowAll between queries/filters.
Columns & Subject Matter Items
Code -- FIPS State code
$MHI 2012 -- Median household income, ACS 2012 1-year estimate
$AFI 2012 -- Mean household income, ACS 2012 1-year estimate
$MFI 2012 -- Median family income, ACS 2012 1-year estimate
$AFI 2012 -- Mean family income, ACS 2012 1-year estimate
$MHI 2014-- Median household income, ACS 2014 1-year estimate
$AHI 2014 -- Mean household income, ACS 2014 1-year estimate
$MFI 2014 -- Median family income, ACS 2014 1-year estimate
$AFI 2014 -- Mean family income, ACS 2014 1-year estimate
$MHI Change 2012-2014 -- Median household income, ACS 2012 to 2014 change
$AHI Change 2012-2014 -- Mean household income, ACS 2012 to 2014 change
$MFI Change 2012-2014 -- Median family income, ACS 2012 to 2014 change
$AFI Change 2012-2014 -- Mean family income, ACS 2012 to 2014 change
$MHI %Chg 2012-2014 -- Median household income, ACS 2012 to 2014 percent change
$AHI %Chg 2012-2014 -- Mean household income, ACS 2012 to 2014 percent change
$MFI %Chg 2012-2014 -- Median family income, ACS 2012 to 2014 percent change
$AFI %Chg 2012-2014 -- Mean family income, ACS 2012 to 2014 percent change
Subject Matter Topics
Family. A family consists of two or more people (one of whom is the householder) related by birth, marriage, or adoption residing in the same housing unit. A householder with one or more other persons living in the same household who are related to the householder by birth, marriage, or adoption. The definition of family excludes one-person households and multi-person households of unrelated individuals.
Household. A household consists of all people who occupy a housing unit regardless of relationship. A household may consist of a person living alone or multiple unrelated individuals or families living together.
Family income. Family income includes income of the householder and all other people 15 years and older in the family.
Household income. Household income includes income of the householder and all other people 15 years and older in the household, whether or not they are related to the householder.
Median. The median is that point that divides the household (family) income distribution into halves, one-half with income above the median and the other with income below the median. The median is based on the income distribution of all households (families), including those with no income.
Income Questions -- ACS 2015 Questionnaire
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