Household income in the United States



The Household income in the United States is a measure of current private income commonly used by the United States government and private institutions. To measure the income of a household, the pre-tax money receipts of all residents over the age of 15 are combined. Most of these receipts are in the form of wages and salaries (before withholding and other taxes), but many other forms of income, such as unemployment insurance, disability, child support, etc., are included as well. The residents of the household do not have to be related to the householder for their earnings to be considered part of the household's income.[1] While the use of household income remains among the most widely accepted as households tend to share a common economic fate, the size of a household which is commonly not considered may off-set gains in household income.[2]

In 2006, the median annual household income according to the US Census Bureau was determined to be $48,201.[3] The median income per household member (including all working and non-working members above the age of 14) in the year 2006 was $26,036.[4] In the year 2005, there were approximately 113,146,000 households in the United States. 19.01% of all households had annual incomes exceeding $100,000,[5] while another 12.7% fell below the federal poverty threshold[6] while the bottom 20% earned less than $23,202.[7] While the aggregate income distribution tends to tilt towards the top with the top 6.37% earning roughly one third of all income, those with upper-middle incomes also controlled a large, though declining, share of the total earned income.[8][2] Households in the top quintile, 77% of which had two income earners, had incomes exceeding $91,705. Households in the mid quintile, with a mean of one income earner per household had incomes between $36,000 and 57,657.[10]

The 2006 economic survey also found that households in the top two income quintiles, those with an annual household income exceeding $60,000, had a median of two income earners while those in the lower quintiles (2nd and middle quintile) had median of only one income earner per household. Due to high unemployment among those in the lowest quintile the median number of income earners for this particular group was determined to be zero.[11] Overall the United States followed the trend of other developed nations with a relatively large population of relatively affluent households outnumbering the poor. Among those in-between the relative extremes of the income strata a large and quite powerful section of households with moderately high middle class incomes[8] and an even larger number of households with moderately low incomes.[11] While the median household income has increased 44% since 1990 it has increased only slightly when considering inflation. In 1990, the median household income was determined to be $30,056; $44,603 in 2003 dollars. While personal income has remained relatively stagnant over the past few decades, household income has risen due to the rising percentage of households with two or more income earners. Between 1999 and 2004 household income stagnated showing a slight increase since 2004.[14][15]

Income at a glance

Income distribution


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The above graph shows the percentage earning the amount shown on the graph or more.[11]
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This graph shows the percentage of persons and households in each of the income groups shown.[11]
Income range Households
(thousands)
Percent Mean number of earners Mean household size
$0 to $25,000 (28.22%)02
Under $2,5002,5662.26%0.231.97
$2,500 to $4,9991,3891.22%0.522.04
$5,000 to $7,4992,4902.20%0.391.76
$7,500 to $9,9993,3602.96%0.331.66
$10,000 to $12,4994,0133.54%0.461.71
$12,500 to $14,9993,5433.13%0.501.84
$15,000 to $17,4993,7603.32%0.671.99
$17,500 to $19,9993,4383.03%0.732.10
$20,000 to $22,4994,0613.58%0.842.11
$22,500 to $24,9993,3752.98%0.792.14
$25,000 to $50,000 (26.65%)12.5
$25,000 to $27,4993,9383.48%0.932.21
$27,500 to $29,9992,8892.55%1.012.30
$30,000 to $32,4993,9213.46%1.122.38
$32,500 to $34,9992,7272.41%1.172.39
$35,000 to $37,4993,3602.96%1.222.36
$37,500 to $39,9992,6332.32%1.252.49
$40,000 to $42,4993,3782.98%1.312.46
National Median $44,3891.352.57
$42,500 to $44,9992,2942.02%1.382.60
$45,000 to $47,4992,7002.38%1.392.60
$47,500 to $49,9992,3712.09%1.492.62
$50,000 to $75,000 (18.27%)23
$50,000 to $52,4993,0712.71%1.462.60
$52,500 to $54,9992,0061.77%1.582.72
$55,000 to $57,4992,4202.13%1.612.75
$57,500 to $59,9991,7861.57%1.702.87
$60,000 to $62,4992,5662.26%1.632.82
$62,500 to $64,9991,7741.56%1.792.89
$65,000 to $67,4992,1011.85%1.812.93
$67,500 to $69,9991,6371.44%1.742.80
$70,000 to $72,4991,9781.74%1.772.88
$72,500 to $74,9991,4131.24%1.823.00
$75,000 to $100,000 (10.93%)23
$75,000 to $77,4991,8021.59%1.822.95
$77,500 to $79,9991,2641.11%1.983.04
$80,000 to $82,4991,6731.47%1.893.01
$82,500 to $84,9991,2191.07%1.973.10
$85,000 to $87,4991,4181.25%1.943.00
$87,500 to $89,9999840.86%1.983.03
$90,000 to $92,4991,2821.13%1.953.03
$92,500 to $94,9999170.81%2.173.25
$95,000 to $97,4991,0230.90%2.063.29
$97,500 to $99,9998460.74%2.123.33
$100,000 or more (15.73%)23
$100,000 to $149,99911,1949.89%ca. 2ca. 3
$150,000 to $199,9993,5953.17%
$200,000 to $249,9991,3251.17%
$250,000 and above1,6991.50%


SOURCE: US Census Bureau, 2005[11]

Quintiles

Households are often divided into quintiles according to their gross income. Each quintile represents 20%, or one fifth, of all households.

Household type is strongly correlated with household income. Married couples are disproportionately represented in the upper two quintiles, compared to the general population of households. Cross-referencing shows that this is likely due to the presence of multiple income earners in these families. Non-family households (individuals) are disproportionately represented in the lower two quintiles. Households headed by single males are disproportionately found in the middle three quintles; single females head households concentrated in the bottom three quintiles.

The highest income households are almost ten times as likely to own their homes rather than rent, but in the lowest quintile, the ratio of owners to renters is nearly one to one.

The New York Times has used the quintiles to define class. It has assigned the quintiles from lowest to highest as lower class, lower middle class, middle class, upper middle class, and upper class.[19]

Data All households Lowest fifth Second fifth Middle fifth Fourth fifth Highest fifth Top 5%
Households (in 1000s)113,14622,62922,62922,62922,62922,6295,695
Lower limit$0$0$18,500$34,738$55,331$88,030$157,176
Median number of income earners1011222
Tenure
Owner occupied62.4%49.0%58.8%68.9%80.5%90.0%92.8%
Renter occupied29.2%48.3%39.7%29.9%18.7%9.6%6.9%
Type of household
Family households68.06%41.06%59.97%70.04%80.87%88.35%90.61%
Married couple families51.35%19.03%38.89%51.00%67.05%80.08%85.59%
Single-male family4.32%3.08%4.64%5.69%4.89%3.30%2.47%
Single-female family12.38%18.94%16.43%13.35%8.93%4.24%2.54%
Non-family households31.93%58.92%40.02%29.96%19.12%11.64%9.36%


SOURCE: US Census Bureau, 2004[20]

Race

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This chart shows the median household income for the four largest racial groups in the United States.[21]
Despite advances made to lift minorities out of poverty and many African Americans and Latino Americans joining the middle class, there is still an uneven racial distribution among the income quintiles. While White Americans who were not of Hispanic descent made up roughly 75.1% of all persons in 2000,[22] 87.93% of all households in the top 5% were headed by a person who identified as being White alone. Only 4.75% of all household in the top 5% were headed by someone who identified him or herself as being Hispanic or Latino of any race,[23] versus 12.5% of persons identifying themselves as Hispanic or Latino in the general population.[22] Overall 86.01% of all households in the top two quintiles with upper-middle range incomes of over $55,331 were headed by a head of household who identified him or herself as White alone, while only 7.21% were being headed by someone who identified as being Hispanic and 7.37% by someone who idenitified as being African American or Black.[23] Overall households headed by Hispanics and African Americans or Blacks were underrepresented in the top two quintiles and overrepresented in the bottom two quintiles. Households headed by persons who identified as being Asian alone, on the other hand, were overrepresented among the top two quintiles. In the top five percent the percentage of Asians was nearly twice as high as the percentage of Asians among the general population. European-Americans were relatively even distributed throughout the quintiles only being underrepresented in the lowest quintile and slightly overrepresented in the top quintile and the top five percent.[23]


Race All households Lowest fifth Second fifth Middle fifth Fourth fifth Highest fifth Top 5%
White aloneNumber in 1000s92,70216,94018,42418,97819,21519,7215,695
Percentage81.93%74.87%81.42%83.87%84.92%87.16%87.93%
Asian aloneNumber in 1000s4,1406245937868711,265366
Percentage3.65%2.76%2.26%3.47%3.84%5.59%6.46%
African American or BlackNumber in 1000s13,7924,4743,3392,6372,0531,287236
Percentage12.19%19.77%14.75%11.65%9.07%5.69%1.04%
Hispanic or Latino
(of any race)
Number in 1000s12,8383,0233,1302,8631,9311,204269 |Percentage||11.33%||13.56%||13.83%||12.20%||8.53%||5.89%||1.19%


SOURCE: US Census Bureau, 2004[23]

Education and Gender

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This graph shows the median household income in accordance with the householder's educational attainment. The data only applies to household with a householder over the age of twenty-five.[28]
Household income as well as per capita income in the United States rise significantly as the educational attainment increases.[29] In 2005 graduates with a Master's in Business Administration (MBA) who accepted job offers are expected to earn a base salary of $88,626. They are also expected to receive "…[a]n average signing bonus of $17,428."[30] According to the US Census Bureau persons with doctorates in the United States had an average income of roughly $81,400. The average for an advanced degree was $72,824 with men averaging $90,761 and women averaging $50,756 annually. Year-round full-time workers with a professional degree had an average income of $109,600 while those with a Master's degree had an average income of $62,300. Overall "…[a]verage earnings ranged from $18,900 for high school dropouts to $25,900 for high school graduates, $45,400 for college graduates and $99,300 for workers with professional degrees (M.D., D.O., J.D., D.D.S., or D.V.M.). [31]

Considering how education significantly enhances the earnings potential of individuals, it should come as no surprise that individuals with graduate degrees have an average per capita income exceeding the median household income of married couple families among the general population ($63,813).[31][33] Higher educational attainment did not, however, help close the income gap between the genders as the life-time earnings for a male with a professional degree were roughly forty percent (39.59%) higher than those of a female with a professionals degree. The life-time earnings gap between males and females was the smallest for those individuals holding an Associate degrees with male life-time earnings being 27.77% higher than those of females. While educational attainment did not help reduce the income inequality between men and women, it did increase the earnings potential of individuals of both sexes, greatly enabling many households with (a) graduate degree householder(s) to enter the top household income quintile.[31]

Household income also increased significantly with the educational attainment of the householder. The US Census Bureau publishes educational attainment and income data for all households with a householder who was aged twenty-five or older. The biggest income difference was between those with some college education and those who had a Bachelor's degree, with the latter making $23,874 more. Income also increased substantially with increased post-secondary education. While the median household income for a household with a household holding an Associates degree was $51,970, the median household income for those with a Bachelor's degree or higher was $73,446. Those with doctorates had the second highest median household with a median of $96,830; $18,289 more higher than that for those at the Master's degree level, but $3,170 lower than the median for households with a professionals degree holding householder.[28]

Criteria Overall Less than 9th grade High school drop-out High school graduate Some college Associates degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree or more Master's degree Professional degree Doctorate degree
Median individual incomeMale, age 25+$33,517$15,461$18,990$28,763$35,073$39,015$50,916$55,751$61,698$88,530$73,853
Female, age 25+$19,679$9,296$10,786$15,962$21,007$24,808$31,309$35,125$41,334$48,536$53,003
Both sexes, age 25+$32,140$17,422$20,321$26,505$31,054$35,009$43,143$49,303$52,390$82,473$70,853
Median household income$45,016$18,787$22,718$36,835$45,854$51,970$68,728$73,446$78,541$100,000$96,830


SOURCE: US Census Bureau, 2003[28][37]

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This graph shows the median household income in 2003 dollars according to educational attainment.[28]
The change in median personal and household since 1991 also varied greatly with educational attainment. While, both the overall median personal and household income increased since 1991, this increase did not take place on all levels of educational attainment. The overall income increased over the course of the 1990s, reaching its high in 1999, but decreasing has been ever since. In 1991 the median household income in the US was $40,873 in 2003 dollars, while the median household income in 2003 was $45,016. In 1999, however, the median household income was $46,236, 2.7% higher than today. While this trend held true for all levels of educational attainment the extend of chorinical falcutations in income were greatly influenced by educational attainment. Overall the median household and personal income decreased for those with more than a 9th grade education but less than a four-year college degree since 1991. In other words, the median household income decreased for households and individuals at the high school drop-outs and graduate, some-college, and an Associates degree level. Income did, however, increase for those with a Bachelor's degree or more. The following table shows the median household income according to the educational attainment of the householder. All data is in 2003 dollars and only applies to householders whose householder is aged twenty-five or older. The highest and lowest points of the median household income are presented in bold face.[28][37]

Year Overall Median Less than 9th grade High school drop-out High school graduate Some college Associates degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree or more Master's degree Professional degree Doctorate degree
1991$40,873$17,414$23,096$37,520$46,296$52,289$64,150$68,845$72,669$102,667$92,614
1993$40,324$17,450$22,523$35,979$44,153$49,622$64,537$70,349$75,645$109,900$93,712
1995$42,235$18,031$21,933$37,609$44,537$50,485$63,357$69,584$77,865$98,302$95,899
1997$43,648$17,762$22,688$38,607$45,734$51,726$67,487$72,338$77,850$105,409$99,699
1999$46,236$19,008$23,977$39,322$48,588$54,282$70,925$76,958$82,097$110,383$107,217
2001$45,300$18,830$24,162$37,468$47,605$53,166$69,796$75,116$81,993$103,918$96,442
2003$45,016$18,787$22,718$36,835$45,854$56,970$68,728$73,446$78,541$100,000$96,830
Average$43,376$18,183$23,013$37,620$46,109$51,934$66,997$72,376$78,094$104,368$94,487


SOURCE: US Census Bureau, 2003[28]

Age of householder

Household income in the United States varies substantially with the age of the person who heads the household. Overall the median household income increased with the age of householder until retirement age when household income started to decline.[42] The highest median household income was found among households headed by working baby-boomers.[42] Households headed by persons between the ages of 45 and 54 had a median household income of $61,111 and a mean household income of $77,634. The median income per member of household for this particular group was $27,924. The highest median income per member of household was among those between the ages of 54 and 64 with $30,544. The group with the second highest median household income, were households headed by persons between the ages 35 and 44 with a median income of $56,785, followed by those in the age group between 55 and 64 with $50,400. Not surprisingly the lowest income group was compromised of those household headed by individuals younger than 24, followed by those headed by persons over the age of 75. Overall households headed by persons above the age of seventy-five had a median household income of $20,467 with the median household income per member of household being $18,645. These figures support the general assumption that median household income as well as the median income per member of household peaked among those households headed by middle aged persons, increasing with the age of the householder and the size of the household until the householder reaches the age of 64. With retirement income replacing salaries and the size of the household declining, the median household income decreases as well.[42]

Aggregate income distribution

The aggregate income measures the combined income earned by all persons in a particular income group. Overall all households in the United States earned roughly $4,286,391 million in 2005 (4.3 trillion). Roughly one third, 32.5%, of all income in the US was earned by those households with an income over $150,000, approximately the top five percent. Approximately one fifth, 20.58%, of all income was earned by the top 2.67%, those households earning more than $200,000 a year. Overall the aggregate income distributing tilts toward the top, despite the fact that households with middle-range annual incomes ranging from $50,000 to $75,000 earned roughly one fourth, 25.11% of all income. As the percentage of middle-range income households is roughly one-fourth of the population, this particular income group's share of income is roughly equal to their representation in the general population. The bottom 6.37%, however only earned 0.27% of all income.[11]

Aggregate income distribution, 2005[46]
Percentage of the total income earned by each income group
10% 20% 30% 40%
less than $25,0006.76%
$25,000 to $50,00018.12%
$50,000 to $75,00022.54%
$75,000 to $100,00020.00%
$100,000 or more32.58%
                                        


SOURCE: US Census Bureau, 2005[11]

Household income over time

Please note that all figures are presented in 2003 dollars.
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This graph shows the income of the given percentiles from 1967 to 2003, in 2003 dollars.[48]


Since 1967, the median household income in the United States has risen by 31%, fluctuating several times. The rise in household income is largely the result of an increase in personal income among college graduates, a group that has doubled in size since the 1960s, and women entering the labor force. Today, 42% of all households have two income earners. Household income increased dramatically faster for affluent households with income inequality having increased steadily since the 1970s.[50][51]

While household income has increased, its growth has been slowed by a decrease in married-couple households who tend to have two earners and, therefore, higher incomes. While the proportion of wives working year-round in married couple households with children has increased from 17% in 1967 to 39% in 1996, the proportion of such households among the general population has decreased. This means that that the share the most economically prosperous type of household in the has been dwindling in the United States. In 1969, more than 40% of all households consisted of a married couple with children. By 1996 only a rough quarter of US households consisted of married couples with children. As a result of these changing household demographics, median household income rose relatively slow despite an ever increasing female labor force and a considerable increase in the percentage of college graduates.[52]

"From 1969 to 1996, median household income rose a very modest 6.3 percent in constant dollars... The 1969 to 1996 stagnation in median household income may, in fact, be largely a reflection of changes in the size and composition of households rather than a reflection of a stagnating economy."- John McNeil, US Census Bureau


Overall, the median household income rose from $33,338 in 1967 to an all-time high of $44,922 in 1999, and has since decreased slightly to $43,318. Decreases in household income are visible during each recession, while increases are visible during economic upturns. These fluctuations were felt across the income strata as the incomes of both, the 95th and 20th percentile were affected by fluctuations in the economy. Income in the period between 1967 and 1999 grew considerably faster among wealthier households than it did among poorer households. For example the household income for the 80th precentile, the lower threshold for the top quintile, rose from $55,265 in 1967 to $86,867 in 2003, a 57.2% increase. The median household income rose by 30% while the income for the 20th percentile (the lower threshold for the second lowest quitile) rose by only 28% from $14,002 to $17,984. As the majority of households in the top quintile had two income earners, versus zero for the lowest quintile and that the widening gap between the top and lowest quintile may largely be the reflection of changing household demographics including the addition of women to the workforce.[48][52] Household demographics are not, however, the cause of the growing gap between the top 5% and the rest of the upper quintile. The top 5% had fewer dual earner households and full-time workers than the top quintile overall. In 2003 a household in the 95th percentile earned 77.2% more than a household in the 80th percentile, compared to 60.5% in 1967, a 27.6% increase in the earnings increase discrepancy between the two groups. Overall the income of the 95th percentile grew 15.2% faster than that of the 80th, 146.8% faster than that of the median and 159.9% faster than that of the 20th percentile.[55]

Households in the top 1% experienced the by far greatest increases in household income. According to economist Janet Yellen "the growth [in real income] was heavily concentrated at the very tip of the top, that is, the top 1 percent."[56] A 2006 analysis of IRS income data by economists Emmanuel Saez at the University of California, Berkeley and Thomas Piketty at the Paris School of Economics showed that the share of income held by the top 1% was as large in 2005 as in 1928. The data revealed that reported income increased by 9% in 2005, with the mean for the top 1% increasing by 14% and that for the bottom 90% dropping slightly by 0.6%.[57]

While per-capita, disposable income has increased 469% since 1972, it has only increased moderately when inflation is considered. In 1972, disposable personal income was determined to be $4,129; $19,385 in 2005 dollars. In 2005, disposable personal income was, however, $27,640, a 43% increase.[58][59] Since the late 1990s, household income has fallen slightly. [60]

Data 2003 2000 1997 1994 1991 1988 1985 1982 1979 1976 1973 1970 1967
20th percentile  $17,984  $19,142  $17,601  $16,484  $16,580  $17,006  $16,306  $15,548  $16,457  $15,615  $15,844 $15,126 $14,002
Median (50th)  $43,318  $44,853  $42,294  $39,613  $39,679  $40,678  $38,510  $36,811  $38,649  $36,155  $37,700 $35,832 $33,338
80th percentile  $86,867  $87,341  $81,719  $77,154  $74,759  $75,593  $71,433  $66,920  $68,318  $63,247  $64,500 $60,148 $55,265
95th percentile $154,120  $155,121  $144,636  $134,835  $126,969  $127,958  $119,459  $111,516  $111,445  $100,839  $102,243  $95,090  $88,678 


SOURCE: US Census Bureau, 2004[48] (Page 44/45)

International comparison

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Median household income and GDP per capita levels in selected developed nations.
Median household income for other countries is shown in the table below. The data for each country has been converted to US dollars using Purchasing Power Parity (obtained from the OECD).[62] Median household income in the United States remains slightly higher than in the UK and Ireland, yet lower than that of Switzerland. It is important to note that the differences in median household income between US states can be as large as those between the developed nations. The median household income of the UK, for example, is comparable to that of Florida or South Carolina, while Switzerland is comparable to New Jersey or New Hampshire.

Country Median household income national currency units Year PPP rate (OECD) Median household income (PPP)
Switzerland[63]95,772 CHF20031.76$54,000
California, US[64]US State$54,000
Ireland€35,410 EUR1.00$47,000
United States$46,000 USD20061.00$46,000
Canada [65]$53,528 CAD1.25$43,000
New Zealand [66]$58,708 NZD1.47$40,000
United Kingdom [67]24,700 GBP2004/050.631$39,000
Scotland[68]24,128 GBP2004/050.631$38,000
Australia[69]$46,326 AUD20061.36$35,000
West Virginia, US[70]US state$33,000
Israel[71]₪101,412 ILS20053.23$31,400
Hong Kong[72]$186,000 HKD20055.96$31,000
Singapore[73]$45,960 SGD20051.55$30,000

Social class

Household income is one of the most commonly used measures of income and, therefore, also one of the most prominent indicators of social class. Household income does not, however, always reflect class status or standard of living correctly. It does not consider household size and, due to differing numbers of income earners per household, does not always accurately reflect a person's position within the occupational hierarchy. Sociologist Dennis Gilbert acknowledges that "... the class structure... does not exactly match the distribution of household income" with "the mismatch [being] greatest in the middle..." (Gilbert, 1998: 92) He states that it is possible for a dual earner household from the working class to earn as much as a single upper middle class individual. Yet, he contends that household income is the best suited income measure as all members of a household share a more or less common socio-economic vantage point. As social classes lack distinct boundaries and commonly overlap, it is not possible to define any household income thresholds. Rather, only common income ranges and typical household incomes are available. According to Leonard Beeghley a household income of roughly $95,000 would be typical of a dual-earner middle class household while $60,000 would be typical of a dual-earner working class household and $18,000 typical for an impoverished household. William Thompson and Joseph Hickey see common incomes for the upper class as those exceeding $500,000 with upper middle class incomes ranging from the high 5-figures to most commonly in excess of $100,000. Typical household incomes for the lower middle class range from $35,000 to $75,000; $16,000 to $30,000 for the working class and less than $16,000 for the lower class.

Academic Class Models
Dennis Gilbert, 2002 William Thompson & Joseph Hickey, 2005 Leonard Beeghley, 2004
Class Occupation and
Compensation
Education Class Occupation and
Compensation
Education Class Occupation and
Compensation
Education
Capitalist class (1%)Top-level executives, high-rung politicans, heirs with incomes in the top 1%Ivy League commonUpper class 1%Top-level executives, celebrities, heirs; income of $500,000+ commonIvy league commonThe super-rich (0.9%)The top 0.9%, multi-millionaires whose incomes commonly exceed $350,0000; includes celebrities and powerful executives/politicansIvy League common
The Rich (5%)Households with net worth of $1 million or more; largely in the form of home equityCollege degree
Upper middle class1 (15%)Highly educated, most commonly salaried, professionals and middle management with large work autonomyGraduate
degrees
common
Upper middle class1 (15%)Highly educated professionals & managers with household incomes varying from the high 5-figure range to commonly above $100,000Graduate degrees commonMiddle class (plurality/majority?; ca. 46%)College educated workers with incomes considerably above-average incomes and compensation; a man making $57,000 and a woman making $40,000 may be typicalCollege degree
Lower middle class (30%)Semi-professionals and craftsman with a roughly average standard of living. Most have some college education and are white collar.Some college
Bachelor's
Lower middle class (32%)Semi-professionals and craftsman with some work autonomy; household incomes commonly range from $35,000 to $75,000Some college
Working class (30%)Clerical and most blue collar workers whose work is highly routinzed. Standard of living varies depending on number of income earners, but is commonly just adequate.High schoolWorking class (32%)Clerical, pink and blue collar workers with often low job security; common household incomes range from $16,000 to $30,000High schoolWorking class
(ca. 40% - 45%)
Blue collar workers and those whose jobs are highly routinized with low economic security; a man making $40,000 and a woman making $26,000 may be typicalHigh school
Working poor (13%)Service, low-rung clerical and some blue collar workers. High economic insecurity and risk of poverty.Some high
school
Lower class (ca. 14% - 20%)Those who occupy poorely paid positions or rely on government transfers.Some high school"The Poor" (ca. 12%Those who live below the poverty line with limited to no particiaption in the labor force; a household income of $18,000 may be typicalSome high school
Underclass (12%)Those with limited or no participation in the labor force. Reliant on government transfers.Some high
school
References: Gilbert, D. (2002) The American Class Structure: In An Age of Growing Inequality. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth; Thompson, W. & Hickey, J. (2005). Society in Focus. Boston, MA: Pearson, Allyn & Bacon; Beehgley, L. (2004). The Structure of Social Stratification in the United States. Boston, MA: Pearson, Allyn & Bacon.
1The upper middle class may also be refered to as "Professional class" Ehrenreich, B. (1989). The Inner Life of the Middle Class. NY, NY: Harper-Colins.

Income by state

Enlarge picture
An average California home in Salinas, CA. In 2004, California was the most expensive state in the nation[74] and had a median household income of $49,894 (rank 13).[75]
The median household income by state ranged from $34,343 or 28% below national median, in Mississippi to $66,752 or 39% above national median, in New Jersey. Connecticut, which is often referred to as the nation's wealthiest state,[76] came in at number four with a median household income of $60,551. California which had the highest median home price in the nation,[74] where home prices have far outpaced incomes[78] only ranked eleventh with a median household income of $54,385.[75] While California's median income was not near enough to afford the average California home or even a starter home, West Virginia, which had one of the nation's lowest median household incomes also had the nation's lowest median home price.[74][75] The northeastern states, more specifically those located in New England, as well as the West Coast had the highest median household income. Of the top fifteen states, all were located in the Northeast and West, with the exception of Minnesota which ranked fifth and Wisconsin (15th).

The southern states had, by far, the lowest median household income, with nine out of the country's fifteen poorest states being located in the South. It should be noted, however, that most of the poverty in the South is located in the Black Belt region. Metropolitan areas such as Atlanta, Nashville, Raleigh-Durham, Birmingham, Dallas, Houston, Miami, to name just a few, are areas within the southern states that have above average income levels. Overall, median household income tended to be the highest in nation's most urbanized northeastern, upper midwestern and west coast states, while rural areas mostly in the southern, and mountain states had the lowest median household income.[75]

State Rank Median household income (2006 dollars)
New Jersey166,752
Maryland263,082
Hawaii361,005
Connecticut460,551
New Hampshire560,411
Alaska657,071
Massachusetts756,592
Minnesota856,102
Utah955,619
Virginia1055,368
California1154,385
Colorado1253,900
Washington1353,515
Delaware1452,676
Rhode Island1552,421
Vermont1652,174
Nevada1751,036
Illinois1849,328
Wisconsin1948,903
Nebraska2048,820
New York2148,472
Georgia2248,388
Pennsylvania2348,148
Iowa2448,075
Michigan2548,043
United States national average ($ 48,023)
District of Columbia2647,473
Arizona2746,693
Wyoming2846,613
Oregon2946,349
Idaho3045,919
Ohio3145,776
Maine3245,503
Florida3345,038
South Dakota3444,996
Indiana3544,618
Missouri3644,487
Kansas3744,478
Texas3843,044
North Dakota3942,311
North Carolina4041,616
Tennessee4140,696
South Carolina4240,583
New Mexico4340,126
Montana4439,821
Oklahoma4538,859
Kentucky4638,694
Alabama4738,160
West Virginia4838,029
Louisiana4937,472
Arkansas5037,458
Mississippi5134,343


SOURCE: US Census Bureau, 2005/06[83]

Median income

The median income divides households in the US evenly in the middle with half of all household earning more than the median income and half of all households earning less than the median household income. In 2004 the median household income in the United States was $43,389.[33] According to the US Census Bureau, the median is "considerably lower than the average, and provides a more accurate representation."[85] Considering other racial and geographical differences in regards to household income, it should come as no surprise that the median household income varies with race, size of household and geography. The state with the highest median household income in the United States was New Hampshire with $57,352, followed by New Jersey, Maryland and Connecticut, making the Northeastern United States the wealthiest area by income in the entire country.[86] In terms of region the median household income was as follows: "Northeast ($47,994), West ($47,680) and South ($40,773)." Median household income in the Mid-West declined by 2.8% to $44,657.[87] While median household income has tendency to increase up to four persons per household, it declines thereon after. This indicated that while four person households have larger incomes than those with one, two or three members, households seem to earn progressively less as their size increases beyond four persons. According to the US Census Bureau 2004 Community Survey, two-person households had a median income of $39,755, with $48,957 for three-person households, $54,338 for four-person households, $50,905 for five-person households, $45,435 for six-person households, with seven-or-more-person households having the second lowest median income of only $42,471.[88]. In terms of race, Asian-Americans households had the highest median household income of $57,518, European-American households ranked second with $48,977, Hispanic or Latino households ranked third with $34,241. African American or Black households had the lowest median household income of all races with $30,134.[87]

Mean income

Another common measurement of personal income is the mean household income. Unlike the median household income which divides all households in two halves, the mean income is the average income earned by American households. In the case of mean income, the income of all households is divided by the number of all households.[90] The mean income is usually more affected by the relatively unequal distribution of income which tilts towards the top.[85] As a result the mean tends to be higher as the median income with the top earning households boosting it. Overall the mean household income in the United States according to the US Census Bureau 2004 Economic Survey was $60,528, or $17,210 (39.73%) higher than the median household income.[92]

Insert the text of the quote here, without quotation marks.


The mean household income for households headed by persons identifying as White alone was $65,317, $40,685 for those headed by persons identifying as African American or Black, $45,871 for those headed by persons identifying as Hispanic or Latino, and $76,747 for those households headed by persons identifying as Asian alone. Approximately one third, or 36.5%, of all households earned more than the mean income, while 63.5% earned less than the mean.[92]

See also

US related articles

Income in the United States
Household income in the United States
Personal income in the United States
Affluence in the United States
Income inequality in the United States
Income by:
State ()
County (highest | lowest)
Metropolitan area
Place
Urban Areas
ZCTAs (Zip Codes)

References

1. ^ Definition of household income. Retrieved on 2006-08-10.
2. ^ Gilbert, Dennis (1998). The American Class Structure. New York: Wadsworth Publishing. 0-534-50520-1. 
3. ^ US Census Bureau news release in regards to median income. Retrieved on 2007-08-28.
4. ^ US Census Bureau median income per household member. Retrieved on 2008-08-28.
5. ^ US Census 2006 Economic Survey, income data. Retrieved on 2007-08-28.
6. ^ US Census Bureau press release regarding poverty. Retrieved on 2006-06-29.
7. ^ US Census Bureau, income quintiles, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-08-28.
8. ^ USAToday, the definition of middle class income. Retrieved on 2006-07-14.
9. ^ Gilbert, Dennis (1998). The American Class Structure. New York: Wadsworth Publishing. 0-534-50520-1. 
10. ^ US Census Bureau, income quintiles, 2006. Retrieved on 2007-02-11.
11. ^ US Census 2006 Economic Survey, income data. Retrieved on 2007-08-28. (Original source reports "median" as "mean".)
12. ^ USAToday, the definition of middle class income. Retrieved on 2006-07-14.
13. ^ US Census 2005 Economic Survey, income data. Retrieved on 2006-06-29.
14. ^ US Census Bureau, Median household income 1990. Retrieved on 2006-08-10.
15. ^ CPI inflation calculator, 1990 USD to 2003 USD. Retrieved on 2006-08-10.
16. ^ US Census 2005 Economic Survey, income data. Retrieved on 2006-06-29.
17. ^ US Census 2005 Economic Survey, income data. Retrieved on 2006-06-29.
18. ^ US Census 2005 Economic Survey, income data. Retrieved on 2006-06-29.
19. ^ New York Times definition of class according to the quintiles. Retrieved on 2006-07-08.
20. ^ US Census Bureau, income quintilea and Top 5 Percent, 2004. Retrieved on 2006-07-08.
21. ^ Median household income newsbrief, US Census Bureau 2005. Retrieved on 2006-09-24.
22. ^ US Census Bureau, 2000 Census racial data. Retrieved on 2006-06-29.
23. ^ US Census Bureau 2005 Economic survey, racial income distribution. Retrieved on 2006-06-29.
24. ^ US Census Bureau, 2000 Census racial data. Retrieved on 2006-06-29.
25. ^ US Census Bureau 2005 Economic survey, racial income distribution. Retrieved on 2006-06-29.
26. ^ US Census Bureau 2005 Economic survey, racial income distribution. Retrieved on 2006-06-29.
27. ^ US Census Bureau 2005 Economic survey, racial income distribution. Retrieved on 2006-06-29.
28. ^ Educational attainment and median household income. Retrieved on 2006-09-24.
29. ^ US Census Bureau, Income by education and sex. Retrieved on 2006-06-30.
30. ^ Wall Street Journal on MBA salary base. Retrieved on 2006-06-30.
31. ^ US Census Bureau on Education and Income. Retrieved on 2006-06-30.
32. ^ US Census Bureau on Education and Income. Retrieved on 2006-06-30.
33. ^ Infoplease, median household income. Retrieved on 2006-06-29.
34. ^ US Census Bureau on Education and Income. Retrieved on 2006-06-30.
35. ^ Educational attainment and median household income. Retrieved on 2006-09-24.
36. ^ Educational attainment and median household income. Retrieved on 2006-09-24.
37. ^ Personal income and educational attainment, US Census Bureau. Retrieved on 2006-09-24.
38. ^ Educational attainment and median household income. Retrieved on 2006-09-24.
39. ^ Educational attainment and median household income. Retrieved on 2006-09-24.
40. ^ Personal income and educational attainment, US Census Bureau. Retrieved on 2006-09-24.
41. ^ Educational attainment and median household income. Retrieved on 2006-09-24.
42. ^ US Census Bureau median household income by age of householder. Retrieved on 2006-07-07.
43. ^ US Census Bureau median household income by age of householder. Retrieved on 2006-07-07.
44. ^ US Census Bureau median household income by age of householder. Retrieved on 2006-07-07.
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46. ^ 2005 Economic Survey, income data. US Census Bureau (May 2005).
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48. ^ Income and poverty since 1967, US Census Bureau. Retrieved on 2006-09-26.
49. ^ US Census Bureau, report on income, poverty and insurance for 2005. Retrieved on 2006-01-19.
50. ^ US Census Bureau. (2001). Historical Income Tables - Income Equality.. Retrieved on 2007-06-20.
51. ^ US Census Bureau.">Weinberg, D. H. (June 1996). A Brief Look At Postwar U.S. Income Inequality. US Census Bureau.. Retrieved on 2007-06-20.
52. ^ Income from 1969 to 1996, US Census Bureau. Retrieved on 2006-09-26.
53. ^ Income and poverty since 1967, US Census Bureau. Retrieved on 2006-09-26.
54. ^ Income from 1969 to 1996, US Census Bureau. Retrieved on 2006-09-26.
55. ^ DeNavas, C., Proctor, B. D., Mills, R. J. (August 2004). Income, Poverty, Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2003. Retrieved on 2007-06-20.
56. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.">Yellen, J. L. (6 November, 2006). Speech to the Center for the Study of Democracy at the University of California, Irvine. Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.. Retrieved on 2007-06-20.
57. ^ The New York Times">Johnston, D. (29 March, 2007). Income Gap Is Widening, Data Shows. The New York Times. Retrieved on 2007-06-20.
58. ^ US Personal Income News Release. Retrieved on 2006-12-18.
59. ^ Overview of BLS statistics on Inflation and Spending. Retrieved on 2006-12-18.
60. ^ US Households and Families 2000. Retrieved on 2006-12-18.
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62. ^ OECD, PPP conversion rates. Retrieved on 2006-01-20.
63. ^ Swiss Government, median household income, 2003. Retrieved on 2007-01-19.
64. ^ California Median Household income, 2006. Retrieved on 2007-03-22.
65. ^ Red Deer City promotion showing average household income for Canada. Retrieved on 2006-12-31.
66. ^ New Zealand income survey showing median household income. Retrieved on 2006-12-31.
67. ^ UK parliament discussion showing median household income. Retrieved on 2006-12-31.
68. ^ Scottish parliament discussion showing median household income. Retrieved on 2006-12-31.
69. ^ Australian year book showing median household income. Retrieved on 2005-1-31.
70. ^ West Virginia, Median Household Income, 2005. Retrieved on 2007-03-22.
71. ^ israeli median household income, 2005. Retrieved on 2007-01-19.
72. ^ Hong Kong median household income, 2005. Retrieved on 2007-01-19.
73. ^ Singapore median household income, 2005. Retrieved on 2007-01-19.
74. ^ Median home price by state. Retrieved on 2006-07-01.
75. ^ US Census Bureau, median household income by state 2004. Retrieved on 2006-07-01.
76. ^ Connecticut, the wealthiest US state statement. Retrieved on 2006-07-01.
77. ^ Median home price by state. Retrieved on 2006-07-01.
78. ^ Home prices outpacing income. Retrieved on 2006-07-01.
79. ^ US Census Bureau, median household income by state 2004. Retrieved on 2006-07-01.
80. ^ Median home price by state. Retrieved on 2006-07-01.
81. ^ US Census Bureau, median household income by state 2004. Retrieved on 2006-07-01.
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84. ^ Infoplease, median household income. Retrieved on 2006-06-29.
85. ^ US Census Bureau on the nature the median in determining wealth. Retrieved on 2006-06-29.
86. ^ US Census Bureau, median household income by state. Retrieved on 2006-06-29.
87. ^ US Census Bureau, median household income according to certain demographic characteristics. Retrieved on 2006-06-29.
88. ^ US Census Bureau, median family income by family size. Retrieved on 2006-06-29.
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90. ^ US Government, the different between mean and median. Retrieved on 2006-06-29.
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93. ^ US Census Bureau, mean household income. Retrieved on 2006-06-29.



BourgeoisieUpper classRuling classNobilityWhite-collar
Petite bourgeoisieUpper middle classCreative classGentryBlue-collar
ProletariatMiddle classWorking classNouveau riche/ParvenuPink-collar
LumpenproletariatLower middle classLower classOld MoneyGold-collar
Slave classUnderclassClasslessness
Social class in the United States
Upper classMiddle classLower classIncomeEducational attainment

External links

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median is described as the number separating the higher half of a sample, a population, or a probability distribution, from the lower half. The median of a finite list of numbers can be found by arranging all the observations from lowest value to highest value and picking
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The United States Census Bureau (officially Bureau of the Census as defined in Title 13 U.S.C.   11 ) is a part of the United States Department of Commerce.
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Poverty in the United States refers to people whose annual family income is less than a "poverty line" set by the U.S. government. Poverty is a condition in which a person or community is deprived of, or lacks the essentials for, a minimum standard of well being and life.
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The Household income in the United States is a measure of current private income commonly used by the United States government and private institutions.
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median is described as the number separating the higher half of a sample, a population, or a probability distribution, from the lower half. The median of a finite list of numbers can be found by arranging all the observations from lowest value to highest value and picking
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worldwide view.
Unemployment is the state in which a worker wants, but is unable, to work. The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed workers divided by the total civilian labor force.
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developed country, or advanced country, is used to categorize countries with developed economies in which the tertiary and quaternary sectors of industry dominate.
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Affluence in the United States refers to an individual's or household's state of being in an economically favorable position in contrast to a given reference group.[3]
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The May 8, 2007 front page of
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Owner The New York Times Company
Publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr.
Staff Writers 350
Founded 1851
Price USD 1.
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social class in the United States, and it remains a vaguely defined intellectual concept with many theories. To this day social scientists have not devised exact guidelines for classes in the United States.
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Working class is a term used in academic sociology and in ordinary conversation.

In common with other terms relevant to social class, it is defined and used in many different ways, depending on context and speaker.
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Social class in the United States
Upper class Middle class Lower class Income Educational attainment

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middle class, in colloquial usage, consists of those people who have a degree of economic independence, but not a great deal of social influence or power. The term often encompasses merchants and professionals, bureaucrats, and some farmers and skilled workers.
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The upper middle class is a sociological concept referring to the social group constituted by higher-status members of the middle class.
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Upper class is a concept in sociology that refers to the group of people at the top of a social hierarchy.
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African Americans or Black Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.[1] In the United States the term is generally used for Americans with sub-Saharan African ancestry.
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American middle class is an ambiguously defined social class in the United States.[1][2] While concept remains largely ambiguous in popular opinion and common language use,[3][4]
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The Household income in the United States is a measure of current private income commonly used by the United States government and private institutions.
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White American
215,333,394[1]
74.7% of the total U.S. population

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European
171,801,940 Americans
60.7% of the total US population
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educational attainment of the US population is similar to that of many other industrialized countries with the vast majority of the population having completed secondary education and a rising number of college graduates that outnumber high school dropouts.
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