Dan Green

Dan Green

Since 2003, Dan Green has been a leading mortgage lender and respected industry authority. His unwavering commitment to first-time home buyers and home buyer education has established him as a trusted voice among his colleagues, his peers, and the media. Dan founded Homebuyer.com to expand the American Dream of Homeownership to all who want it. .

Lancaster Home - Household Income

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What is Household Income?

Household income is the combined gross income of all members of a household who are 15 years or older, regardless of whether they are related.

Household Income: A Detailed Explanation

Household income is the sum of all earnings from all sources for every individual living in a single household above the age of 15.

To illustrate, consider a household comprised of four people: a software engineer earning a salary, a retiree receiving a pension, a college student who works part-time, and an individual receiving unemployment benefits. The household income for this group is the sum of the software engineer’s salary, the retiree’s pension, the student’s part-time earnings, and the unemployment benefits.

Household income also includes rental income from properties owned by a member of the household, dividends from investments, and income from a family-run business.

In the context of homeownership, household income is particularly important for first-time home buyer programs like HomeReady and Home Possible. These programs, aimed at assisting low- to moderate-income borrowers, use household income in their mortgage guidelines to determine program eligibility.

How is Household Income Calculated?

Household income calculation involves adding up all income sources of household members who are 15 years or older. It’s a comprehensive measure, accounting for wages, business income, rental earnings, pensions, and investment returns. This figure is gross, representing income before taxes and other deductions.

Household Income: Chart

Homebuyer.com uses the FRED® API but is not endorsed or certified by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
Data: U.S. Census Bureau. Do not reprint without permission.

Common Questions About Household Income

What is the difference between household income and family income?

Household income includes the incomes of all people living in a single house, while family income only accounts for the incomes of related individuals in the household.

What does median household income tell us?

The median household income is the middle point of all household incomes, indicating the standard of living and economic health of a region.

Does household income include non-cash benefits?

No, household income typically includes only cash earnings, not non-cash benefits like healthcare or food assistance.

How often is household income data updated?

Household income data is usually updated annually, providing insights into the economic trends and living standards over time.

What role does household income play in mortgage approvals?

Household income determines eligibility for certain mortgage programs, particularly home affordability programs aimed at low- to moderate-income households, like Fannie Mae’s HomeReady and Freddie Mac’s Home Possible. Lenders verify household income to ensure first-time home buyers earn no more than the programs’ maximum allowable income.

How does household income affect eligibility for USDA loans?

USDA loans enforce household income limits for eligible home buyers in suburban and rural parts of the country. Household income limits for USDA loans vary on region and size of household.

Is household income the same as individual income in mortgage applications?

No, household income includes the combined income of all eligible household members, while individual income refers to the income earned by the primary applicant only.

How often do mortgage programs update income limits based on household income?

Mortgage programs like HomeReady and Home Possible periodically update their income limits to reflect changes in the area’s median income, ensuring the programs serve the intended income brackets.


       Household income is the combined gross income of all members of a household who are 15 years or older, regardless of whether they are related.

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