art photo



I am using microdata from the 2000 Census of Population and Housing. I have found some families with a code of "0" on family income. Is this an error on the part of the Census Bureau? If not, what is the explanation?


This is not an error. There are several things going on:

The "no income" family population is small---32,937 out of 3.662,100 families. The universe is defined as hht ge 1 and hht le 3.

This finc=0 population can be divided into 3 types:

Type 1 - The family has no income, but the household income is positive because a non-relative living in the household has income. This accounts for 4,224 of the cases.

Type 2 - This is a very small population, N=97, is where the family members have a mix of positive and negative incomes, which sum to 0.

Type 3 - This is the most common type, N=28,619, defined as hinc=0 and finc=0. All sources of income for persons >14 have values of "0." The Census Bureau explained this by saying that it is possible for a family or household to report zero income with each individual in the family/household reporting zero amounts in every income field. These people could be living on income in-kind or money from other sources of non-regular or lump sum payments.

Text from the Census Bureau definition of income says that 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; and gifts and lump-sum inheritances, insurance payments, and other types of lump-sum receipts.

Related Question Groups: