ATTACHMENT I

Current Population Survey (CPS) - Definitions and Explanations

Income, official definition of:

(A) Earnings. The Census Bureau classifies earnings from longest job (or self-employment) and other employment earnings into three types:

  1. Money wage or salary income is the total income people receive for work performed as an employee during the income year. This category includes wages, salary, armed forces pay, commissions, tips, piece-rate payments, and cash bonuses earned, before deductions are made for items such as taxes, bonds, pensions, and union dues.


  2. Net income from non-farm self-employment is the net money income (gross receipts minus expenses) from one's own business, professional enterprise, or partnership. Gross receipts include the value of all goods sold and services rendered. Expenses include items such as costs of goods purchased, rent, heat, power, depreciation charges, wages and salaries paid, and business taxes (not personal income taxes). In general, the Census Bureau considers inventory changes in determining net income from non-farm self-employment; replies based on income tax returns or other official records do reflect inventory changes. However, when respondents do not report values of inventory changes, interviewers will accept net income figures exclusive of inventory changes. The Census Bureau does not include the value of saleable merchandise consumed by the proprietors of retail stores as part of net income.


  3. Net income from farm self-employment is the net money income (gross receipts minus operating expenses) from the operation of a farm by a person on their own account, as an owner, renter, or sharecropper. Gross receipts include the value of all products sold, payments from government farm programs, money received from the rental of farm equipment to others, rent received from farm property if payment is made based on a percent of crops produced, and incidental receipts from the sale of items such as wood, sand, and gravel. Operating expenses include items such as cost of feed, fertilizer, seed, and other farming supplies; cash wages paid to farmhands; depreciation charges; cash rent; interest on farm mortgages; farm building repairs; and farm taxes (not state and federal personal income taxes). The Census Bureau does not include the value of fuel, food, or other farm products used for family living as part of net income. In determining farm self-employment income, the Census Bureau considers inventory changes in determining net income only when they are accounted for in replies based on income tax returns or other official records which reflect inventory changes; otherwise, the Census Bureau does not take inventory changes into account.

(B) Unemployment compensation. Payments the respondent received from government unemployment agencies or private companies during periods of unemployment and any strike benefits the respondent received from union funds.

(C) Workers' compensation. Payments people receive periodically from public or private insurance companies for injuries received at work. (Excluded for purposes of SCSEP income eligibility determinations.)

(D) Social security. Includes social security pensions and survivors' benefits and permanent disability insurance payments made by the Social Security Administration prior to deductions for medical insurance. The Census Bureau does not include Medicare reimbursements for health services as social security benefits. (Only Social Security income after Medicare deductions is included for persons 65 years of age or older).

(E) Supplemental security income. Federal, state, and local welfare agency payments to low-income people who are 65 years old and over or people of any age who are blind or disabled. (Excluded for purposes of SCSEP income eligibility determinations.)

(F) Public assistance or welfare payments. Any cash public assistance payments that low-income people receive. Examples include, but are not limited to, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TAW), general assistance, and emergency assistance. The Department of Labor expands this interpretation to include income from other employment and training programs for low-income individuals, including SCSEP wages. (Excluded for purposes of SCSEP income eligibility determinations.)

(G) Veterans' payments. Payments disabled members of the armed forces or survivors of deceased veterans receive periodically from the Department of Veterans Affairs for education and on-the-job training, and means-tested assistance to veterans.

(H) Survivor benefits. Payments people receive from survivors' or widows' pensions, estates, trusts, annuities, or any other types of survivor benefits. Respondents can report payments from ten different sources: private companies or unions; federal government (Civil Service); military; state or local governments; railroad retirement; workers' compensation; Black lung payments; estates and trusts; annuities or paid-up insurance policies; and other survivor payments.

(I) Disability benefits. Payments people receive as a result of a health problem or disability (other than those from Social Security Disability Insurance). Respondents can report payments from ten sources: workers' compensatim; companies or unions; federal government (Civil Service); military; state or local governments; railroad retirement; accident or disability insurance; Black lung payments; state temporary sickness; or other disability payments. (Excluded for purposes of SCSEP income eligibility determinations.)

(J) Pension or retirement income. Payments people receive from eight sources: companies or unions; federal government (Civil Service); military; state or local governments; railroad retirement; annuities or paid-up insurance policies; individual retirement accounts (IRAs), Keogh, or 401(k) payments; or other retirement income.

(K) Interest income. Payments people receive (or have credited to accounts) from bonds, treasury notes, IRAs, certificates of deposit, interest-bearing savings and checking accounts, and all other investments that pay interest.

(L) Dividends. Income people receive from stock holdings and mutual fund shares. The CPS does not include capital gains from the sale of stock holdings as income.

(M) Rents, royalties, and estates and trusts. Net income people receive from the rental of a house, store, or other property, receipts from boarders or lodgers, net royalty income, and periodic payments from estate or trust funds.

(N) Educational assistance. Pel1 Grants; other government educational assistance; any scholarships or grants; or financial assistance students receive from employers, friends, or relatives not residing in the student's household.

(0) Alimony. All periodic payments people receive from ex-spouses. Alimony excludes one-time property settlements.

(P) Child support. All periodic payments a parent receives for the support of children, even if these payments are made through a state, local or federal government office. The Department of Labor expands this definition to include any support for the care of a dependent child who is under 18 years of age. (Excluded for purposes of SCSEP income eligibility determinations.)

(Q) Financial assistance from outside of the household. Periodic payments people receive from non-household members. This type of assistance excludes gifts or sporadic assistance.

(R) Other income. All other payments people receive regularly that are not included elsewhere on the questionnaire. Some examples are state programs such as military family allotments, and income received from foreign government pensions.

(S) Government transfers. Payments people receive from the following sources: (1) unemployment compensation, (2) state workers' compensation, (3) social security, (4) Supplemental Security Income (SSI), (5) public assistance, (6) veterans' benefits, (7) government survivor benefits, (8) government disability benefits, (9) government pensions, and (10) government educational assistance. (Excluded or included, as applicable, for purposes of SCSEP income eligibility determinations.)