Chart Detail

Middle-fifth household income, minus selected key sources, 1979–2007

1979 1989 1995 2000 2007 1979–2007
Comprehensive household income $58,751 $59,724 $61,334 $65,637 $69,949 19.1%
With health care deflated properly 58,751* 58,685 59,025 63,151 66,234 12.7%
Without cumulative contributions of:
Government transfers 58,751* 57,166 56,071 60,049 62,209 5.9%
Hours worked 58,751* 60,678 60,050 61,783 61,623 4.9%
Pensions 58,751* 59,233 57,654 58,363 58,050 -1.2%

* Data are held at 1979 levels to compute change from 1979 to 2007.

Note: Data are for comprehensive income and include employer-sponsored health insurance.

Source: Authors' analysis of Congressional Budget Office (2010 and 2010b), Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement microdata, and Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Indices database.

Updated August 1, 2012

Documentation and methodology

Underlying data for income, transfers, and pensions are from the Congressional Budget Office Web resource, Average Federal Taxes by Income Group, “Sources of Income for All Households, by Household Income Category, 1979 to 2007” [Excel spreadsheet] and unpublished data related to the resource. Underlying data for health care deflation are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Indexes database. Underlying data for hours worked are from Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement microdata; see Appendix A for details on microdata. Income data are deflated using a health care deflator, and then the contributions of additional transfers, hours worked, and pensions since 1979 are taken out in sequence. Note that the unpublished CBO data are unrounded, and produce slightly different income dollar values and thus an income growth rate for the middle fifth (19.1 percent) that differs by .1 percentage point from the income growth rate from the rounded, publicly available CBO data underlying Figure 1I. Note that the “hours worked” increases in some periods because total earnings in the CBO data dropped more than hourly earnings in the CPS data (which is where the hourly earnings are measured from) over this period. This implies that hours dropped more than hourly earnings over this period in the CBO data. In other words, if you remove the effect of hours (i.e., leave only the effect of hourly earnings), total earnings will rise.

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