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Ratio of imputed family income to poverty guidelines

Codes and Frequencies

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POVIMPHHS5 reports categories of poverty status reflecting the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines. The guidelines are a simplification of the U.S. Census Bureau's poverty thresholds and are used for administrative purposes, for instance, determining financial eligibility for certain federal programs.

POVIMPHHS5 was created by IPUMS NHIS staff using FAMSIZE and INCIMPPOINT5, which includes imputed values to replace missing data for the original variable for total combined family income. Poverty ratios are a ratio of the family income and size over the appropriate HHS Federal Poverty Guideline. Note that total family income reflects income from all sources in the previous calendar year. Please see the Comparability Tab for information on how the 2016 guidelines (used in the 2017 IPUMS NHIS sample) are computed.

INCIMPPOINT5 is the total combined imputed family income top-coded to the weighted average of the 95th percentile of five imputed datasets. For more information see the INCIMPPOINT1 variable description. Note that the NCHS has not released point estimates for non-imputed total family income. For non-imputed income, see INCFAM07ON, INCFAM97ON2, or other variables on the IHIS income group page. The complementary imputation flag variable IMPYFAMFLAG5 indicates whether responses in INCIMPPOINT5 were reported or imputed.

Related Variables and Sources of Additional Information

POVIMPHHS5 is the fifth of five variables for the ratio of family income to poverty guideline. Before using the imputed income and earnings variables, researchers are strongly advised to read the NCHS documentation on imputed income, such as 2008 Imputed Family/Personal Earnings Files. The NCHS documentation for the imputed income files directs that analysis of the five versions of each imputed income variable should be done separately, using methods and software that are appropriate for such survey data (for example, SAS-callable SUDAAN or SAS-callable IVEware).


Federal poverty guidelines from HHS identify the poverty guideline level for the first person in a family and an incremental increase to this baseline amount for each additional person in the family. In 2016, the incremental increase for each additional person varies based on family size. The incremental value is $4140 for each additional person for families of six or fewer people; the incremental increase is $4150 for families of seven, and $4160 for families of eight. In 2017, the guidelines return to a single incremental value for additional family members instead of the varied value used in 2016. The 2017 IPUMS NHIS data (which references income from the previous calendar year, 2016) uses the varied increment values provided by HHS, and applies the incremental increase for families of 8 to all families with 8 or more persons.

Otherwise, POVIMPHHS5 has no comparability issues.


  • 2009-2017: All persons


  • 2009-2017