The Census Bureau publishes data on money income. Money income is defined as income received on a regular basis (exclusive of certain money receipts such as capital gains) before payments for personal income taxes, social security, union dues, medicare deductions, etc. Therefore, money income does not reflect the fact that some families receive part of their income in the form of noncash benefits, such as food stamps, health benefits, subsidized housing, and goods produced and consumed on the farm.

To determine poverty status, the Census Bureau uses a set of money income thresholds that vary by family size and composition. If a family’s total income is less than the family’s threshold, then that family and every individual in it is considered in poverty. The official poverty thresholds do not vary geographically, but they are updated for inflation using Consumer Price Index. The official poverty definition uses money income before taxes and does not include capital gains or noncash benefits (such as public housing, Medicaid, and food stamps).

There are several different sources of income and poverty data discussed here.  

American Community Survey

The American Community Survey (ACS), a product of the U.S. Census Bureau, is an ongoing survey that collects information on the characteristics of the population. The data are available for small geographies and areas with small populations. ACS data is available on the Census Bureau’s search engine American Fact Finder.

Topics on income and poverty included in the ACS are:

Household Income

Individual Income

Poverty Status

Public Assistance

Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates

The Census Bureau’s Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) program produces annual estimates of median household income and poverty status for states, counties, and school districts. SAIPE combines data from administrative records, postcensal population estimates, and the decennial census with direct estimates from the American Community Survey to provide consistent and reliable single-year estimates.

These model-based, single-year estimates are more reflective of current conditions than multi-year survey estimates available through the American Community Survey.

Access SAIPE data here.

Survey of Income and Program Participation

The Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) is a household-based survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. The main objective of the SIPP is to provide accurate and comprehensive information about the income and program participation of individuals and households in the United States.  The survey’s mission is to provide a nationally representative sample for evaluating: 1) annual and sub-annual income dynamics; 2) movements into and out of government transfer programs; 3) family and social context of individuals and households; and 4) interactions among these items. A major use of the SIPP has been to evaluate the use of and eligibility for government programs and to analyze the impacts of modifications to those programs. SIPP is designed as a continuous series of national panals, with sample size ranging from approximately 14,000 to 52,000 interviewed households. The duration of each panel ranges from 2 ½ years to 4 years.

Data are released periodically in cross-sectional, topical module, and longitudinal reports. Access SIPP data here.

KY Department for Community Based Services

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) publishes a biannual data book detailing participation by county for offered services including K-TAP (Kentucky’s TANF program), SNAP (food stamps), child care slots, Family Resource/Youth Service Centers and more.

Go to the DCBS Data Book. 

KIDS COUNT Data Center

The KIDS COUNT Data Center is a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, created to track the well-being of children in the United States.  Data provided by the Kentucky Youth Advocates tracks the well-being of Kentucky’s children by county and by school district.

One of the topics covered by the KIDS COUNT Data Center is Economic Well-Being, including indicators related to public assistance, housing, income and poverty.