Inside the U.S. Census Bureau Part 5: Money Who Has It, How is it Spent?

About the United States Census Bureau, how the country breaks down in terms of money, who has the most, the least, and how the government spends its money.

Inside the Census Bureau: 1, 2, 3, 4 . . . and Counting . . .

Census Man, tell me, Who has the bread? The richest 5% in the U.S. own 14% of the country's assets. In total income, U.S. workers earned over $1,000,000,000,000 in 1972, or about $5,000 apiece for each of roughly 200 million people. About 5,000 had a net worth of $10 million or more. In liquid assets (cash and other assests easily convertible to cash), 1/2 of the U.S. had less than $800 to call their own. And one person out of 6 had no liquid assets at all.

The poverty level for nonfarm families was $4,275 for a family of 4. For those living on farms, who could add to their subsistence with home-grown food, the level dropped to $3,643. There were 27,125,000 who qualified as "living in a state of poverty" in 1970. Nearly 8 million were black, and just over 2 million were of Spanish origin. The totals were wildly disproportionate to the ethnic percentage in the total U.S. population. The black poor are poorer than the white poor, by an average of $300 less annually.

Senior citizens, too, are hungry. The 1970 census showed that 48.5% of all 65-and-uppers, not living with their families, were classed as "poverty stricken." For the entire senior-citizen group, representing 10% of the U.S., the median income was a bare $5,053, most of it coming from Social Security payments.

Where did all the bread go? In 1970, the Census reported, the U.S. consumer spent a total of $615,800,000,000. For the median income of about $10,000 it was apportioned as follows:

$2,330 Food, beverages, and tobacco

1,480 Housing

1,390 Household expenses

1,260 Transportation

1,010 Clothing

770 Medical bills

630 Recreation

580 Personal business matters

160 Personal care

390 All other


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