Per Capita Income is an estimate of the average income per person in a particular area. Every man, woman, and child living in a particular area is included in the calculation.
The Census considers the following to be counted as income:
The Census only uses the income of all people 15 years old and over.
Definitions taken from the U.S. Census Bureau Census Data Information – Income and Household Income, Per Capita Income, and Persons Below Poverty .
It can be important to understand per capita income because it can help to explain the characteristics of a community. Although this is an estimate, it can be used to compare one geographic area to other parts of the county, state or nation to describe economic conditions.
Every ten years the U.S. Census Bureau conducts its official population count of the United States. (It is referred to as the Decennial Census.) The most recent census was conducted in 2000. The U.S. Census Bureau collects this data in two ways. They first send out a mail-in census form. For those people who do not return their mail-in forms, the Census Bureau sends people to those homes to administer the form in person.
There are two census forms used during the Decennial Census. The first is the short-form, which is asked of every person and housing unit in the United States. On this form are a limited number of questions (Age, Hispanic or Latino origin, Household Relationship, Housing Tenure, Housing Vacancy Characteristics, Race, and Sex). The second is the long form, which is given to a sample of the population, usually about 1 in 6 households. The long form asks more detailed questions on population and housing. The information collected in the long-form is then estimated for the entire population.
The data from the short and long forms are made public through the U.S. Census Bureau website.
Source: U.S. Census – Decennial Census
The data presented on the Community Atlas come from the U.S. Census Bureau's Summary File 3, which has information collected through the long form. We chose to use data from the long-form since it provides more detailed questions and responses.
The Census Bureau uses a calculation to take the responses provided through the long-form, which samples about 1 in 6 households, to develop an estimate for the total population. For details on the methods used by the Census Bureau, please see their technical documentation for Summary File 3 located on the Census Bureau website. The Per Capita Income is an average obtained by dividing aggregate income by total population (including children) of an area.
The following data tables are used:
Per Capita Income: Summary File 3, P82. Per Capita Income in 1999 (Dollars)
For the Community Atlas, the per capita income was calculated for specific areas (neighborhoods and communities) by using the dasymeteric method. This is done by reapportioning the data we receive for one type of geographic boundary (e.g., Census tracts, Census block groups, zip codes, etc.) to the neighborhood and community boundaries. The method used for this process is a modified version of the dasymetric mapping technique outlined in the study entitled "Dasymetric Mapping Techniques for the San Francisco Bay" prepared by Rachel Sleeter of the U.S. Geological Survey website.
The basic steps taken for reapportioning the data: