How Much Does the Average American Make? 20+ Statistics About the Average Salary in the US
Over the decades, the average salary in the US has increased significantly. In 1970, the median household income was $9,870, and half a century later, by the end of 2022, the median household income was more than seven times that, at $74,580.
Although the average salary has been increasing almost every year, the average living costs have grown even more quickly, and it can be tough to get by on just one (or even two) salaries in today’s economy.
Key US Salary Statistics for 2023 - Editor's Choice:
- In 2022, the poverty rate in the US was around 11.5%.
- The median income for an American household was $74,580 in 2022.
- Since 1979, the top earners in the US have seen their wages grow by 157.8%.
- 36.7% of US households earn more than $100,000 in 2023.
- Falls Church City in Virginia is the county with the highest median income in 2023.
American Household Income in Numbers
These statistics will demonstrate how the average and median American household income has changed over the years. The data presented here can be a good pointer to what you can expect to add to your personal savings in the next few years.
The median income for an American household was $74,580 in 2022.
(US Census Bureau)
The median household income in the US fluctuates, but it has generally been on an upward trend. However, due to inflation and rising living costs, the median income fell by 2.3% from 2011 to 2022, and has been on a continous decline since peaking in 2019 at $78,250. The overall decrease from that peak has since been 4.7%.
Income inequality in the US is the second-highest among the G7 countries in 2023.
Income inequality is measured by dividing the income of the top 10% of earners by the income of the bottom 10% of earners in a given sample. This ratio of the aggregate household income in the US was at 9.1 in 1980, meaning the top earners made nine times as much money as the poorest people in the country.
While this is already high, results from 2022 show that this divide has grown by more than a third in the last 40 years, and is now at 12.63. The only country in the G7 with a higher level of income inequality is Japan.
In 2022, the poverty rate in the US was around 11.5%.
(US Census Bureau)
The poverty rate in the US has been declining since the end of the Great Recession at the beginning of the 21st century. However, it has recently gone up again, most likely due to the impact of the pandemic and the ensuing geopilitical instability, and has increased from 10.5% in 2019, to 11.5% in 2022.
While this is still not as bad as in 1993, for example, when the poverty rate stood at 15% - i.e., almost one out of every seven individuals was living below the poverty line - there is still much room for improvement.
The US median household income decrease between 2008 and 2009 was the same as between 2019 and 2020.
(US Census Bureau, Institute for Policy Studies)
If we look at the numbers from the United States Census Bureau's survey on median household income at the national and state levels for 2008/2009, we'll see a decrease of 2.9%. This decrease reflected the Great Recession's impact on the whole US economy and the average wage in the US.
Almost the same decrease was registered between 2019 and 2020, meaning that the impact of the pandemic was almost equivalent to that of the biggest economic crisis in recent years.
Add to that the fact that the wealth of US billionaires actually increased by 55% in the first year of the pandemic, and we can conclude that this drop in earnings has affected the bottom end of the earning spectrum the most.
Since 1979, the top earners in the US have seen their wages grow by 157.8%.
(Economic Policy Institute)
Income inequality has been an ongoing issue in the United States for a while now. A study from the Economic Policy Institute shows that between 1979 and 2018, the top earners in America saw their wages grow by 157.8%.
In contrast, during that same period, the wages of those in the “bottom” 90% increased by only 23.9%.
The overall rise in income inequality has led to various socioeconomic consequences. Some ways those at the lower end of the spectrum offset some of this financial pressure include debt consolidation and refinancing.
In 2022, Maryland had a real median household income of $108,200.
The US state distribution of income has plenty of variations. In 2022, Maryland had a median household income of $108,200, making it the wealthiest state in the US. On the other hand, Mississippi, which is at the bottom of the list, had a median household income of less than half as much - $48,600.
By comparing all the states and their median household incomes, we get that the average median household income in the US for 2022, for all the states, was $70,784.
About 14.88 million US households had an income of $200,000 in 2022.
These households earned almost three times the national median household income. While this number is small compared to the total number of American households, the $200,000 income bracket is not the same for everyone. Depending on household size and composition, this amount can be significantly higher.
50% of US adults live in middle-income households.
(Pew Research Center)
As we previously mentioned, income inequality is a significant issue in the United States. The latest available study from the Pew Research Center shows that in 2021, 50% of adults in America lived in middle-income households, a drop of 2% from 2019, and a significant decline since the peak of 61% from fifty years earlier in 1971.
Additionaly, almost a third (29%) of US adults are now in lower-income households, while 21% were in upper-income households. It is essential to be aware of these disparities and do what we can to help close the gap.
The lowest-paid workers in the US earned $25,160 a year in 2021.
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the lowest-paid earners in America were shampooers. Conversely, cardiologists had the highest salary - $353,970 - and right below them were anesthesiologists, who earned $331,190 per year in 2021. In fact, the top 18 spots in the BLS’s list of wages per occupation are all taken by medical professionals.
36.7% of households in the US earned more than $100,000 in 2023.
In 2022, about 34.6% of households earned more than $100,000 per year, and the number is increasing in 2023, as the repot from IBISWorld states that the rising inflation has caused the wages to rise.
Women working full-time earned 16% less than men in 2023.
(US Census Bureau)
According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2023, men with full-time jobs had real median earnings of $62,350. On the other hand, women in the same position earned $55,360, which shows the gender wage gap in the United States is still very wide, even though it has now reached historically lowest levels on record.
9.2% of people in the US had an annual household income of between 150,000 and 199,999 in 2022.
This represents a significant increase from the percentage of people in this income bracket in 2020, when there were 8% of them. On the downside, 8.3% of people had an average annual household income of less than $15,000.
This data is essential because it helps us understand where most of the population stands financially, and identify which groups need more help and support from the government and other institutions.
The median household income peaked in 2019 at $69,560.
(US Census Bureau)
Since 2014, the average and median American household income have been increasing each year. There were no reductions and no stagnation in these numbers. In 2019, it reached its peak at $69,560, but that did not last for long.
Things started changing, and in 2020, the median household income dropped to 67,521. This drop was mainly caused by the pandemic and the economic downturn it brought, a trend which continued for the next three years.
Falls Church City in Virginia is the county with the highest median income in 2023.
Based on data collected from the same report, the states with the most counties in the top 20 per median income ar Virginia with four, and California which also has four of its counties in the same range. In the top twenty counties in the US, some 20% of households have an income of $200,000 or more.
In 2023, the bottom 90% of Americans put together held less wealth than the top 1%.
According to Federal Reserve data for Q2 2023, 90% of American households had less wealth than the top 1% - they held 31.1% and 31.4% of all US wealth, respectively. This means that the top 10% of earners now hold more than two thirds of the entire US wealth.
In 2020, California had the most households with $1 million or more in investable assets.
In 2020, there were around 6.98 million individuals in North America with financial assets worth at least one million dollars. Most of those people seem to be living in California, as this state has 1.14 million households with investable assets totaling one million or more. In contrast, the national average salary was $56,310 at the time, which shows a significant gap between different social classes.
This information allows us to identify in which states American wealth is concentrated, i.e., which states have a disproportionate amount of billionaires, and tax laws that are probably more favorable to high earners.
In 2023, you had to earn at least $652,657 to rank among the top 1% of all earners.
If you lived in West Virginia in 2023, and your average annual income was $367,582 or more, you were among the top 1% of earners in that state, where the bar is lowest. At the same time, those who lived in Connecticut had to face the stiffest competition and earn at least $952,902 to be at the top. The average across all states has been rapidly growing over the past years, as another indicator of the accumulation of wealth into the hands of the richest.
The median income for women between 25 and 34 years of age in the US in 2023 was $970 a week.
In 2023, the median income for women in the US aged 25 to 34 years was $50,440 annually. Women from 20 to 24 years earned $702 a week, while those in the 35-to-44-years group earned $1,112 weekly.
Black population poverty rate dropped to a historic low of 17.1% in 2022.
(U.S. Census Bureau)
While the numbers in recent years show a historic decline in poverty among the black population, the racial disparity here still remains stark, as 8.6% of Asian and 8.6% of non-Hispanic white Americans were in poverty last year.
Wealth disparity is most certainly on the rise, as is inflation. For most people, this means their income won’t be able to account for the rising cost of living. The income inequality and wage gaps between demographics, be they gender- or race-based, remain ever-present and are likely to be even more noticeable as the recession continues.
Albert Einstein is said to have identified compound interest as mankind’s greatest invention. That story’s probably apocryphal, but it conveys a deep truth about the power of fiscal policy to change the world along with our daily lives. Civilization became possible only when Sumerians of the Bronze Age invented money. Today, economic issues influence every aspect of daily life. My job at Fortunly is an opportunity to analyze government policies and banking practices, sharing the results of my research in articles that can help you make better, smarter decisions for yourself and your family.
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