The United States Trustee publishes official means testing numbers, which are used to complete the bankruptcy means test. The practice is for the United States Trustee to publish new means testing numbers twice annually, reflecting changes in the underlying data obtained from the census bureau and the internal revenue service. A few weeks lay between the publication of the new numbers and their effectiveness on new bankruptcy cases filed thereafter. For example, the UST published on October 12, 2012 a new set of numbers to be effective on November 1.
The means test compares a debtor's gross income to that of the state's median income. This figure, as published by the United States Trustee, represents the income level of a household what would fall in the middle of a ranked list of households by income. If you have exactly the median household income, the same number of households have more income than you as the number of households that have less income than you. Median income does not account for county-to-county variation in income levels.