“Low-Income” Or “Low Income”? Learn If “Low Income” Is Hyphenated

Is low income hyphenated? That’s the question we’re asking today. We’re looking at low income vs low-income to see when we do or don’t use a hyphen in sentences. What are the rules that come with it?

Low Income Or Low-Income – Hyphenated Or Not?

When we discuss the low income hyphen rule, we hyphenate the words when we use them as an adjective to modify nouns or objects in a clause. We don’t hyphenate the two words when we’re using them as a noun on their own.

Examples Of When To Use “Low Income”

It’s time to look at some examples that might help us better grasp how to use the two forms. We’ll start with the unhyphenated version and see how we use the phrase as a noun rather than an adjective. In this case, you’ll almost always find the phrase at the end of the clause.

  • My family is low income.
  • This neighborhood is low income.
  • The country is low income.
  • I can’t work for a low income.
  • I’ve always been stuck with a low income.

Examples Of When To Use “Low-Income”

But what happens when we hyphenate the words instead? We use them as an adjective in this form, which means we modify a noun or object in the clause to help the reader understand its meaning better.

  • We’re from a low-income household.
  • Low-income areas are the worst affected.
  • Low-income countries struggle to provide for their people.
  • We’re from a low-income city.
  • I can’t work in a low-income job.

Is Low Income Hyphenated AP Style?

The AP stylebook is a useful tool when you want to learn about rules to do with English. When we look at hyphen rules in the AP style, we learn that hyphens act as “joiners” between two or more closely linked words. When we use them, the words become adjectives that modify nouns or objects in a sentence. It’s a useful way to help the reader understand a little more about the context of what they’re reading.

Should I Capitalize “Income” In The Word “Low-Income”?

When we look through capitalization rules, we’re met with a new challenge with hyphenated words. Should you capitalize the second word in a hyphenated form? Well, the answer is a little more complex than a simple yes or no. It depends on which of the three main title styles you use to write with. Let’s look at them and see which one uses which style.

The first style capitalizes only the first word and any proper nouns in the title. In this case, “low-income” is never capitalized unless you start the title with it (then only “low” is capitalized). The second style capitalizes all words except for short prepositions, conjunctions, and articles. In this style, you’d always capitalize “low” but never capitalize “income.”

The final style capitalizes all words in a title regardless of length or meaning. In this style, both words in “low-income” are capitalized. Even though the hyphen treats them as one word, the title style ignores that and capitalizes them regardless.

Alternatives To “Low Income”

One of the best ways to help you wrap your head around the meaning of a word is by using alternatives. If you’re not quite familiar with or grasping the hyphen rule and stuck between low income or low-income, you could always use a synonym that holds the same meaning. This way, you don’t have to worry about getting any language rules wrong and use a word you understand instead.

  • Poor
  • Destitute
  • Impoverished
  • Broke
  • Underprivileged

Quiz – Low Income Or Low-Income?

It’s time for a quiz to see what you’ve learned about the differences between low-income or low income. We’ll put your knowledge to the test, and you can compare your answers in the section at the end. If you’ve paid attention to all the rules in the article, you should have no problem with this!

  1. (A. low income / B. low-income) families live in this area.
  2. We live in a (A. low income / B. low-income) neighborhood.
  3. They say they’re (A. low income / B. low-income).
  4. This job is considered to be (A. low income / B. low-income).
  5. I hold a (A. low income / B. low-income) position.

Quiz Answers

  1. B
  2. B
  3. A
  4. A
  5. B