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TitleFAQ: Why is FYHHAVGQ so much higher than YHHAVGA?
AuthorKarl Zandi
Question

Why is FYHHAVGQ so much higher than YHHAVGA?

Answer

The Moody's Analytics forecast concept FYHHAVGQ and the historical concept YHHAVGA both describe "average household income" but define "income" differently.  The forecast uses the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) estimate of personal income, which is more comprehensive than the definition used by the Census Bureau (BOC).

Average household income = Aggregate income / Number of households

The BEA, through its National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA), measures income through government and business sources, whereas the BOC and its Current Population Survey (CPS) use household interviews.  The BEA's definition is more inclusive; the BOC's is subject to underreporting.  Hence, the numerator in the above calculation is much larger in the case of FYHHAVGQ.

For a full comparison of the types of income counted by the BEA and BOC, and other methodological differences, please consult these official documents:

To borrow a linguistic term, think of average income concepts FYHHAVGQ and YHHAVGA as "false cognates" -- the names are similar but the meanings aren't.  Conversely, the forecast and historical measures of median income (FYHHMEDQ and YHHMEDA) use compatible definitions and have similar values.

Concept  Description  Source(s)  Range  Freq 
   Average household income          
YHHAVGA  Average household income, ($)  BOC CPS  1967-2011 
FYHHAVGQ  Forecast average household income, ($, SA)  BOC; BEA; MA  1960-2043 
FYPQ  Forecast aggregate personal income, (Bil. $, SA)  BEA; MA  1947-2043 
FHHOLDQ  Forecast total households, (Ths. #, NSA)  BOC; MA  1960-2043 
   Median household income          
YHHMEDA  Median household income, ($)  BOC CPS  1967-2011 
RYHHMEDQ  Estimated median household income, ($)  BOC; MA  1967-2010 
FYHHMEDQ  Forecast median household income, ($, SA)  BOC; MA  1967-2043 

Dates are illustrative, as of July 2013.  For up-to-date metadata, please consult Mnemonic 411.



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