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Economic Measures: Wealth and Poverty
Basic measures of economic status—such as those collected by the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS)—can help to reveal ways in which economic status is linked to the use of, access to, and impacts on ecosystem services by different communities.
Poverty is a condition in which basic resources are lacking, sometimes defined by a minimum income level below which basic needs are not acceptably met. High poverty rates are often associated with high levels of unemployment, and can indicate the extent to which a community is economically distressed. Median household income is the level at which half of households have an income above, and half have an income below, that level. It is often preferred to average (mean) income as an indicator of the "typical" household economic status in a region, as it is not dramatically affected by small numbers of households with extreme high or low values.
The ACS is a national, publicly available survey provided by the U.S. Census Bureau that collects information about population, education, housing, economic status, and more. Planners, public officials, entrepreneurs, and researchers rely on the data collected through this survey to help understand community conditions and to support community planning efforts.
Learn more and access this data:
- U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey | http://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/
- U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder | http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml