Income Upshot

All new data on what your income says about you

Jolie Myers Nov 5, 2013

Marketplace’s Wealth and Poverty Desk is tracking the connections between what we make and how we live, work and play. And we’re doing it with a data interactive tool called Income Upshot. We launched the tool back in September with all kinds of data … and now we’re adding a whole new slate of data. 

Like, how does income line up with political ideology? How much TV do we watch at different incomes? Is there a correlation between gun ownership and income? And, just for fun, do certain astrological signs show up more at certain income levels?

As before, we’re using data from  the U.S. Census Bureau, marketing firms, academic researchers and other sources to explore what someone’s income can tell us about their lifestyle and consumer behavior.

A few notes on the data and how we represent it:

Each data set measures income in terms of total household income. Total household income is defined as the total incomes of all people over the age of 15 living in a household. A few data sets in Income Upshot deviate from household income, including new car purchases. The marketing firm that collected the data uses total family income instead of household income. Total family income is defined as the total income of all people over the age of 15 related to the householder and living in the household. The same goes for the data sets on kids, god, political ideology, TV, astrology and guns. The General Social Survey, the source of the data for those sets, asks respondents about their total family incomes, not household incomes. 

Every income you enter falls into an income range, and each income range is defined by the source of the data set. For example, the Census Bureau uses income ranges like $10,000 to $14,999 and $15,000 to $19,999 in measuring home ownership by income. The income ranges vary from data set to data set because the sources for the data are not the same. To see the income ranges for each data set in Income Upshot, click on the information button (the little “i” on the share bar) near the bottom of each data visualization. 

The measure of income by Zip code comes from the Census, which replaces some Zip codes with something call a Zip code Tabulation Area (ZCTA). Almost every Zip code is the same as the census-assigned ZCTA. But if a Zip code-defined area is smaller than two square miles, it will be absorbed into an adjacent ZCTA. If the Zip code you try to enter does not work, try entering a neighboring Zip code instead.

We’ll be updating Income Upshot throughout the year and into the next with new data. What data sets would you like to see? Let us know in the comments section below. 

Income Upshot:
How people at different incomes live, work and play. A new data interactive from Marketplace’s Wealth & Poverty Desk. Try the interactive

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