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Income Upshot - Most Commented

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What median income can buy depends on where you live

Sep 17, 2013
The Census releases U.S. median income data today. We visit two families to compare what it's like to live at the national median income and local median income.
Posted In: median income, Paducah, kentucky, middle class, poverty

Income Upshot: Homer Simpson edition

Sep 12, 2013
The Income Upshot tool can tell you how people at your income level live, work and play. But you can also find out a lot about other people in the public eye.
Posted In: Homer Simpson, census

Behind the Data: Alcohol consumption by income bracket

Sep 12, 2013
Based on Gallup data, we looked at what income says about alcohol consumption.

Behind the Data: Pet ownership by income bracket

Sep 12, 2013
We examine what a person's income says about what pets they own.

Behind the Data: Commute time by income bracket

Sep 12, 2013
We looked at the relationship between a person's income and their daily commute.

Behind the Data: Car type by income bracket

Sep 12, 2013
What can a person's income tell you about the type of car they drive?

Behind the Data: Home ownership by income bracket

Sep 12, 2013
A person's income can reveal whether they tend to own, or rent, their place of residence.

Behind the Data: Marital status by income bracket

Sep 12, 2013
Are you married? Divorced? Single? If you reveal your income, data can shed light on marital status trends.

Your income, your lifestyle

Consumer spending is what drives the U.S. economy, and because of that, consumer behavior is studied more closely than almost any other field. Researchers look at what cars people buy at different income levels, what pets they own, and what they do with their time. Plus, the U.S. Census collects and breaks down American behavior by income as well. 

With that treasure trove of data, Marketplace's Wealth & Poverty Desk is embarking on a long-term project to chart what Americans' incomes say about their demographic outcomes. We're calling it 'Income Upshot', partly because we're telling these stories by inputting demographic and income data and outputting the upshot of that data in infographics, interactives and radio storytelling.

We'll begin our project with a series of reports around how income determines car and auto purchases. For instance, for families making poverty wages, Chevy is the most popular car brand. Those same families are most likely to buy small cars, such as the Chevy Sonic. Whereas for the median income family, Toyotas are the go-to cars, and they’re most likely to drive midsized cars, like a Toyota Camry. And finally, the most popular car for the richest of the rich is a Mercedes Benz.

And yet, 5 percent of people making over $500,000 a year drive Toyotas. (Do not underestimate the value of Prius piousness.)

Stay tuned for stories, visuals and interactives that explore what outcomes result from your income. 


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Aug 6, 2013

Subcompact cars and the income divide

Aug 6, 2013
As breaking into the middle class becomes harder, car companies are finding new ways to attract an expanding base of less-affluent consumers. They're offering more small car models with better features than ever before.
Posted In: cars, wealth, poverty, subcompact, Chevy Spark, Chevy, Income Gap

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About this collection

A special series from the Marketplace Wealth & Poverty Desk looking at the demographics of the growing income gap. For instance, based on sales data from the last few months of 2012, we know that Toyota is the go-to car brand for people making about the median household income. Similar data exists about commute times, home ownership and all sorts of information.