You are viewing the Income section of the Forsyth County Poverty Study. Click here to return to the table of contents.
Household income is directly associated with poverty. The Census Bureau uses household income and composition to determine poverty status (1). Changes in community incomes do not always happen uniformly for high-and low-income earners. For example, incomes could rise for households at one end of the distribution and stay the same or drop for households at the other end of the distribution. Even when other major predictors of poverty, like unemployment, experience favorable changes, the rate of poverty in a community might not decrease if household income does not, especially for households making the least amount of money (2).
- About 20% of households in Forsyth County make about or less than $19,000 a year, which is well below the poverty threshold for a family of four.
- Household incomes for the lowest-income Forsyth County residents have decreased from 2006 to 2014, potentially putting them at an increased risk of poverty.
- Younger adults, minorities, families with children, and households headed by people not living with a spouse have disproportionately low household income, which puts them at a higher risk of poverty.
Figure 1: Household Income by Percentile in Forsyth County, 2014
Figure 1 shows the distribution of income in Forsyth County in 2014. About 20% of households in Forsyth County make about or less than $19,000, which is well below the poverty threshold for a family of four.
Figure 2: Household Income by Percentile in Forsyth County, 2006-2014
Figure 2 depicts that incomes for the 20th and 40th percentiles, the percentiles most likely to contain households in poverty, were lower in 2014 than in 2006.
- Income for the 40th and 60th percentiles dropped between 2008 to 2012 and then increased significantly, but household income for the 40th percentile in 2014 was still lower than in 2008.
- Income for 80th and 95th percentile remained fairly stable.
Figure 3: Median Household Income by Census Tract, 2010-2014
Figure 3 shows that median household incomes are the highest in western Winston-Salem. Households near highway 52 in central Winston-Salem, which are also areas with high poverty rates (not shown in Figure 3), tend to have lower median household incomes than other parts of the county. This suggests that these low median household incomes may be contributing to higher poverty rates in these areas.
Figure 4: Median Household Income by Families with and without Children in Forsyth County, 2014
Families with children have a significantly lower median income than those who do not have children, as can be seen in Figure 4, which could be contributing to children having higher rates of poverty than adults.
Figure 5: Median Household Income by Family Type in Forsyth County, 2014
Figure 5 shows that, among families of related people living together in a household, income is the highest for families headed by a married couple, which could contribute to lower poverty rates of households headed by married couples.
Figure 6: Median Household Income by Age of Householder in Forsyth County, 2014
Figure 6 shows that the median household income for younger residents, ages 15-24, is lower than any other age group in Forsyth County, which could be contributing to higher poverty rates in this age group.
Data for 15-to-24-year-old residents have a high level of variance and should be interpreted with caution.
Figure 7: Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity of Householder in Forsyth County, 2014
Figure 7 depicts that the median household income for White, non-Hispanic residents is almost twice the median household income of African American and Hispanic/Latino residents. However, the median household income of African American and Hispanic/Latino residents is not significantly different. These racial disparities in household income could be contributing to racial disparities in poverty.
Data for Hispanic/Latino residents have a high level of variance and should be interpreted with caution.
- U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). How the Census Bureau measures poverty. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/about/overview/measure.html
- Haskins, R. (2011). Fighting poverty the American way. Anti-poverty programs in a global perspective: Lessons from rich and poor countries, Social Science Research Center, Berlin, [Record of a Symposium]. June 20-21, 2011. Berlin, Germany. Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/0620_fighting_poverty_haskins.pdf
Figures 1, 2(a): U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). Household income quintile upper units: Table B19080 [Data files from ACS 1-year estimates for the year 2014]. Retrieved from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_1YR_B19080&prodType=table
Figure 2(b): Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2016). Table 24: Historical consumer price index for all urban consumers (CPI-U): U.S. city average, all items-continued [from CPI Detailed Report: Data for February 2016]. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/cpi/detailed-report.htm
Figures 3-7: U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). Median income in the past 12 months: Table S1903 [ Data files from ACS 1-year estimates for the year 2014]. Retrieved from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_1YR_S1903&prodType=table