Official Poverty ACS vs CPS ASEC

OK, so there are few different sources of official poverty. It seems to me that CPS is sort of lower down the chain than ACS in recent years.  I very much like there are so many measures in ACS. However, it seems as if for the big picture on poverty  CPS ASEC is what they use, is this correct?  CPS is not in the standard data, page although it might be elsewhere with measure and tables. But I think its not as comprehensive and part of a large sample like ACS. ACS seems to be the go to source for many things.

I can't mix and match measures from the ACS and CPS, so in general its OK to talk "official poverty" by county and all the other great fields as long as the source is listed as ASC1 or ACS5.

11.6  and


Any thoughts or advice?



  • The official estimates most likely come from the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) program. It combines the ACS and the CPS data, builds a statistical model that uses the demographic composition of the areas, and also uses the Department of Education figures on free and reduced price lunches.

  • "As we discussed on the phone, the official poverty measure for the nation comes from Current Population Survey (CPS-ASEC). 

    And it is recommended to use the American Community Survey (ACS) to get income and poverty rate estimates for state and lower-level geographies.

    If you have any question, please let us know. Thank You."


    Alemayehu Bishaw

    Survey Statistician

    Poverty Statistics Branch


    U.S. Census Bureau

    Office 301.763.3213  Room 7H170