Personal income in the United States

Personal income is an individual's total earnings from wages, investment interest, and other sources. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a median personal income of $865 weekly for all full-time workers in 2017.[3] The U.S Bureau of the Census has the annual median personal income at $31,099 in 2016.[4] Inflation-adjusted ("real") per-capita disposable personal income rose steadily in the U.S. from 1945 to 2008, but has since remained generally level.[5][6]

Income patterns are evident on the basis of age, sex, ethnicity and educational characteristics. In 2005 roughly half of all those with graduate degrees were among the nation's top 15% of income earners. Among different demographics (gender, marital status, ethnicity) for those over the age of 18, median personal income ranged from $3,317 for an unemployed, married Asian American female[7] to $55,935 for a full-time, year-round employed Asian American male.[8] According to the US Census, men tended to have higher income than women, while Asians and Whites earned more than African Americans and Hispanics.

Personal income
Median personal income for the population age 25 or older in 2005[1]
U.S. Productivity, Real Hourly Compensation and Trade Policy (1948-2013)
U.S. Productivity, Real Hourly Compensation and Trade Policy (1948-2013)[2]
Real GDP, Real Wages and Trade Policies in the U.S. (1947– 2014)
Real GDP, Real Wages and Trade Policy in the U.S. (1947–2014)

Income statistics

In the United States the most widely cited personal income statistics are the Bureau of Economic Analysis's personal income and the Census Bureau's per capita money income. The two statistics spring from different traditions of measurement—personal income from national economic accounts and money income from household surveys. BEA's statistics relate personal income to measures of production, including GDP, and is considered an indicator of consumer spending. The Census Bureau's statistics provide detail on income distribution and demographics and are used to produce the nation's official poverty statistics.

Personal income and disposable personal income

BEA's personal income measures the income received by persons from participation in production, from government and business transfers, and from holding interest-bearing securities and corporate stocks. Personal income also includes income received by nonprofit institutions serving households, by private non-insured welfare funds, and by private trust funds. BEA also publishes disposable personal income, which measures the income available to households after paying federal and state and local government income taxes.

Income from production is generated both by the labor of individuals (for example, in the form of wages and salaries and of proprietors' income) and by the capital that they own (in the form of rental income of persons). Income that is not earned from production in the current period—such as capital gains, which relate to changes in the price of assets over time—is excluded.

BEA's monthly personal income estimates are one of several key macroeconomic indicators that the National Bureau of Economic Research considers when dating the business cycle.[9]

Personal income and disposable personal income are provided both as aggregate and as per capita statistics. BEA produces monthly estimates of personal income for the nation, quarterly estimates of state personal income, and annual estimates of local-area personal income. More information is found on BEA's website.[10]

Census Money Income

The Census Bureau collects income data on several major surveys, including the Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) of the Current Population Survey (CPS), the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), and the American Community Survey (ACS). The CPS is the source of the official national estimates of poverty and the most widely cited source of annual household income estimates for the United States.[11]

The CPS measure of money income is defined as the total pre-tax cash income received by people on a regular basis, excluding certain lump-sum payments and excluding capital gains.

The Census Bureau also produces alternative estimates of income and poverty[12] based on broadened definitions of income that include many of these income components that are not included in money income.

The Census Bureau releases estimates of household money income as medians, percent distributions by income categories, and on a per capita basis. Estimates are available by demographic characteristics of householders and by the composition of households. More details on income concepts and sources are found on the Census Bureau's website.[13]

By educational attainment

Historical median personal income by education attainment in the US
Median personal income by educational attainment (2017)[3][14]
Measure Some high school High school graduate Some college Associate's degree Bachelor's degree or higher Bachelor's degree Master's degree Professional degree Doctorate degree
Persons, age 25+ w/ earnings $24,576 $33,669 $37,968 $37,968 $61,440 $56,592 $70,608 $91,538 $79,231
Male, age 25+ w/ earnings $22,214 $32,307 $39,823 $43,785 $70,437 $62,304 $78,222 $111,881 $91,604
Female, age 25+ w/ earnings $20,784 $28,896 $33,360 $33,360 $54,480 $49,248 $61,200 $65,012 $68,887
Persons, age 25+, employed full-time $30,598 $38,102 $43,377 $47,401 $71,221 $64,074 $77,285 $117,679 $101,307

Income distribution

Of those individuals with income who were older than 15 years of age, approximately 50% had incomes below $30,000 while the top 10% had incomes exceeding $95,000 a year in 2015.[3] The distribution of income among individuals differs substantially from household incomes as 39% of all households had two or more income earners. As a result, 25% of households have incomes above $100,000,[15] even though only 9.2% of Americans had incomes exceeding $100,000 in 2010.[3]

As a reference point, the US minimum wage since 2009 has been $7.25 per hour or $15,080 for the 2080 hours in a typical work year. The minimum wage is approximately 25% over the official U.S. government-designated poverty income level for a single person unit (before taxes) and about 63% of the designated poverty level for a family of four, assuming only one worker (before taxes). (See Poverty in the United States). Annual wages of $30,160; $45,240; $75,400; $150,800 and $1.5M correspond to 2, 3, 5, 10 and 100 times minimum wage respectively.[16]

Age personal income
Income distribution among all those above age 25 and those between 25 and 64 with earnings.[17][18] NOTE: 25+ statistics will not add up exactly to 100% due to the unemployment rate
Income range Number of people Percent in group Percent at or below Cumulative percentages
Under $2,500 14,689,000 6.48 6.48 less than $25k
less than $50k
less than $100k
$2,500 to $4,999 6,262,000 2.76 9.24
$5,000 to $7,499 7,657,000 3.38 12.62
$7,500 to $9,999 10,551,000 4.65 17.27
$10,000 to $12,499 12,474,000 5.50 22.77
$12,500 to $14,999 8,995,000 3.97 26.74
$15,000 to $17,499 10,672,000 4.71 31.44
$17,500 to $19,999 7,931,000 3.50 34.94
$20,000 to $22,499 11,301,000 4.86 39.80
$22,500 to $24,999 6,962,000 3.07 42.87
$25,000 to $50,000
$25,000 to $27,499 9,623,000 4.24 47.12 $25k–$50k
$27,500 to $29,999 5,535,000 2.44 49.56
$30,000 to $32,499 10,399,000 4.59 54.15
$32,500 to $34,999 4,429,000 1.95 56.10
$35,000 to $37,499 7,975,000 3.52 59.62
$37,500 to $39,999 3,930,000 1.73 61.35
$40,000 to $42,499 8,091,000 3.57 64.92
$42,500 to $44,999 3,113,000 1.37 66.29
$45,000 to $47,499 5,718,000 2.52 68.81
$47,500 to $49,999 3,221,000 1.42 70.23
$50,000 to $75,000
$50,000 to $52,499 7,130,000 3.14 73.38 $50k–$75k
$52,500 to $54,999 2,489,000 1.10 74.47
$55,000 to $57,499 3,834,000 1.69 76.16
$57,500 to $59,999 2,066,000 0.91 77.08
$60,000 to $62,499 5,047,000 2.23 79.30
$62,500 to $64,999 1,894,000 0.84 80.14
$65,000 to $67,499 3,289,000 1.45 81.59
$67,500 to $69,999 1,493,000 0.66 82.24
$70,000 to $72,499 3,264,000 1.44 83.68
$72,500 to $74,999 1,372,000 0.61 84.29
$75,000 to $100,000
$75,000 to $77,499 2,922,000 1.29 85.58 $75k–$100k
$77,500 to $79,999 1,307,000 0.58 86.15
$80,000 to $82,499 2,725,000 1.20 87.36
$82,500 to $84,999 1,021,000 0.45 87.81
$85,000 to $87,499 1,508,000 0.67 88.47
$87,500 to $89,999 856,000 0.38 88.85
$90,000 to $92,499 1,966,000 0.87 89.72
$92,500 to $94,999 712,000 0.31 90.03
$95,000 to $97,499 1,090,000 0.48 90.51
$97,500 to $99,999 768,000 0.34 90.85
$100,000 or more
$100,000 or more 20,755,000 9.15 100 9.15%

SOURCE: US Census Bureau, Current Population Survey 2016[3]

Over time, by ethnicity and sex

This chart is median income of 15 year olds or older, who have non-zero income.[19] Amounts are shown in nominal dollars and in real dollars (in parentheses, 2017 dollars).

1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2004 2016
Overall Male $2,570 ($26,270) $4,080 ($33,940) $6,670 ($42,270) $12,530 ($37,530) $20,293 ($38,210) $28,343 ($40,490) $30,513 ($39,740) $38,869 ($38,896)
Female $953 ($9,742) $1,261 ($10,490) $2,237 ($14,180) $4,920 ($14,690) $10,070 ($18,960) $16,063 ($22,950) $17,629 ($22,960) $24,892 ($24,892)
White/European American Male $2,709 ($27,690) $4,296 ($35,740) $7,011 ($44,430) $13,328 ($39,790) $21,170 ($39,860) $29,797 ($42,570) $31,335 ($40,810) $40,632 ($40,632)
Female $1,060 ($10,840) $1,352 ($11,250) $2,266 ($14,360) $4,947 ($14,770) $10,317 ($19,430) $16,079 ($22,970) $17,648 ($22,990) $25,221 ($25,221)
Black/African American Male $1,471 ($15,040) $2,260 ($18,800) $4,157 ($26,340) $8,009 ($23,910) $12,868 ($24,230) $21,343 ($30,490) $22,740 ($29,620) $29,376 ($29,376)
Female $474 ($4,846) $837 ($6,963) $2,063 ($13,070) $4,580 ($13,670) $8,328 ($15,680) $15,581 ($22,260) $18,379 ($23,940) $22,690 ($22,690)
Asian Male NA NA NA NA $19,394 ($36,520) $30,833 ($44,050) $32,419 ($42,230) $46,590 ($46,590)
Female NA NA NA NA $11,086 ($20,870) $17,356 ($24,800) $20,618 ($26,860) $26,771 ($26,771)

By ethnicity and origin

Personal income varied significantly with an individual's racial characteristics with racial discrepancies having remained largely stagnant since 1996. Overall, Asian Americans earned higher median personal incomes than any other racial demographic. Asian Americans had a median income roughly ten percent higher than that of Whites.[20] The only exception was among the holders of graduate degrees who constitute 8.9% of the population. Among those with a master's, professional or doctorate degree, those who identified as White had the highest median individual income. This racial income gap was relatively small.[20][21]

Those identifying as Hispanic or Latino (who may have been of any "race") had the lowest overall median personal income, earning 28.51% less than Whites[21][22] and 35% less than Asian Americans.[20] The second largest racial or ethnic gap was between Whites and African Americans with the former earning roughly 22% more than the latter. Thus one can observe a significant discrepancy with the median income of Asians and Whites and that of African Americans and Hispanics.[23]

Overall the race gap between African Americans and Whites has remained roughly equal between both races over the past decade.[21][24] Both races saw a gain in median income between 1996 and 2006, with the income growth among African Americans slightly outpacing that of Whites. In 1996 the median income for Whites was $5,957 (31%) higher than for Blacks. In 2006 the gap in median incomes was nearly identical with the median income for Whites being $5,929 (22%) higher than that for African Americans. While the gap remains numerically unchanged, the percentage difference between the two races has decreased as a result of mutual increases in median personal income.[21][24]

Measuring income by per capita is another way to look at personal earnings by race. Unlike median statistics, per capita statistics are affected by extremely high and low incomes. According to the U.S Census Bureau "The per capita income for the overall population in 2008 was $26,964; for non-Hispanic Whites, it was $31,313; for Blacks, it was $18,406; for Asians, it was $30,292; and for Hispanics, it was $15,674."[25][4]

Personal Income by Race

The number of thousands of individuals in each income bracket

Race 6 figure household and

Percent of households with six figure incomes and individuals with incomes in the top 10%, exceeding $77,500

Personal income race

Median personal income by race (note:can be misleading, since "Hispanics" includes people of all racial categories)[26]

Race Overall median High school Some college College graduate Bachelor's degree Master's degree Doctorate
Total population All, age 25+ 32,140 26,505 31,054 49,303 43,143 52,390 70,853
Full-time workers, age 25-64 39,509 31,610 37,150 56,027 50,959 61,324 79,292
White alone All, age 25+ 33,030 27,311 31,564 49,972 43,833 52,318 71,268
Full-time workers, age 25-64 40,422 32,427 38,481 56,903 51,543 61,441 77,906
Asian alone All, age 25+ 36,152 25,285 29,982 51,481 42,466 61,452 69,653
Full-time workers, age 25-64 42,109 27,041 33,120 60,532 51,040 71,316 91,430
African American All, age 25+ 27,101 22,379 27,648 44,534 41,572 48,266 61,894
Full-time workers, age 25-64 32,021 26,230 32,392 47,758 45,505 52,858 73,265
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) All, age 25+ 23,613 22,941 28,698 41,596 37,819 50,901 67,274
Full-time workers, age 25-64 27,266 26,461 33,120 46,594 41,831 53,880 N/A

Source: US Census Bureau, 2006[26]

See also


  1. ^ "US Census Bureau, 25+, 2005". Archived from the original on 2007-01-04. Retrieved 2006-12-08.
  2. ^ Ravikumar, B.; Shao, Lin. "Labor Compensation and Labor Productivity: Recent Recoveries and the Long-Term Trend".
  3. ^ a b c d e "USUAL WEEKLY EARNINGS OF WAGE AND SALARY WORKERS FIRST QUARTER 2017" (PDF). Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Department of Labor. April 18, 2017. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Real Median Personal Income in the United States". 2016-09-13.
  5. ^ "Real Disposable Personal Income: Per capita" Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, 2013
  6. ^ "The Rich Are Enjoying The Recovery While Wages Fall For Everyone Else" ThinkProgress, January 25, 2013
  7. ^ "US Census Bureau, females, 18 or older, unemployed, personal income, 2005". Archived from the original on 2012-02-05. Retrieved 2006-12-08.
  8. ^ "US Census Bureau, male, 18 or older, employed full-time year round, 2005". Archived from the original on 2012-02-05. Retrieved 2006-12-08.
  9. ^ "The NBER's Business Cycle Dating Committee".
  10. ^ "Gross Domestic Product - U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)".
  11. ^ "US Census Bureau, Poverty". Archived from the original on 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-01-18. Retrieved 2017-12-11.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-02-01. Retrieved 2017-12-11.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Unemployment rates and earnings by educational attainment". Retrieved 2017-05-03.
  15. ^ "US Census Bureau, "Income Distribution to $250,000 or More for Households: 2014"". Retrieved 2016-09-18.
  16. ^ "US DOL, Minimum Wage". Retrieved 2010-06-15.
  17. ^ "US Census Bureau, distribution of personal income, 2010". Archived from the original on 2012-03-22. Retrieved 2012-03-13.
  18. ^ "US Census Bureau, income distribution, ages 25-64, 2006". Archived from the original on 2012-03-22. Retrieved 2012-03-13.
  19. ^ Taken from World Almanac (in turn sourced to US Census Bureau)
  20. ^ a b c "US Census Bureau, Personal income for Asian Americans, age 25+, 2006". Archived from the original on 2006-09-29. Retrieved 2006-12-17.
  21. ^ a b c d "US Census Bureau, Personal income for Whites, age 25+, 2006". Archived from the original on 2006-09-29. Retrieved 2006-12-17.
  22. ^ "US Census Bureau, Personal income for Hispanic Americans, age 25+, 2006". Archived from the original on 2006-09-29. Retrieved 2006-12-17.
  23. ^ "US Census Bureau, Personal income for African Americans, age 25+, 2006". Archived from the original on 2006-09-29. Retrieved 2006-12-17.
  24. ^ a b "US Census Bureau, Personal income by race, age 25+, 1996". Archived from the original on 2006-09-26. Retrieved 2006-12-17.
  25. ^ "Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2008" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. 2009.
  26. ^ a b "US Census Bureau, Personal income, age 25+, 2006 statistics forum". Archived from the original on 2007-01-04. Retrieved 2006-12-17.

External links

American lower class

In the United States, the lower class are those at or near the lower end of the socio-economic hierarchy. As with all social classes in the United States, the lower class is loosely defined and its boundaries and definitions subject to debate and ambiguous popular opinions. Sociologists such as W. Lloyd Warner, Dennis Gilbert and James Henslin divide the lower classes into two. The contemporary division used by Gilbert divides the lower class into the working poor and underclass. Service and low-rung manual laborers are commonly identified as being among the working poor. Those who do not participate in the labor force and rely on public assistance as their main source of income are commonly identified as members of the underclass. Overall the term describes those in easily filled employment positions with little prestige or economic compensation who often lack a high school education and are to some extent disenfranchised from mainstream society.Estimates for how many households are members of this class vary with definition. According to Dennis Gilbert roughly one quarter, 25%, of US households were in the lower classes; 13% were members among the working poor while 12% were members of the underclass. While many in the lower working class are employed in low-skill service jobs, lack of participation in the labor force remains the main cause for the economic plight experienced by those in the lower classes. In 2005, the majority of households (56%) in the bottom income quintile had no income earners while 65% of householders did not work. This contrasts starkly to households in the top quintile, 76% of whom had two or more income earners.Lacking educational attainment as well as disabilities are among the main causes for the infrequent employment. Many households rise above or fall below the poverty threshold, depending on the employment status of household members. While only about 12% of households fall below the poverty threshold at one point in time, the percentage of those who fall below the poverty line at any one point throughout a year is much higher. Working class as well as working poor households may fall below the poverty line if an income earner becomes unemployed. In any given year roughly one out of every five (20%) households falls below the poverty line at some point while up to 40% may fall into poverty within the course of a decade.

Average Joe

The terms average Joe, ordinary Joe, Joe Sixpack, Joe Lunchbucket, Joe Snuffy, Joe Schmo (for males) and ordinary Jane, average Jane, and plain Jane (for females), are used primarily in North America to refer to a completely average person, typically an average American. It can be used both to give the image of a hypothetical "completely average person" or to describe an existing person. Parallel terms in other languages for local equivalents exist worldwide.

Today, statistics by the United States Department of Commerce provide information regarding the societal attributes of those who may be referred to as being "average". While some individual attributes are easily identified as being average, such as the median income, other characteristics, such as family arrangements may not be identified as being average.

In 2001, for example, no single household arrangement constituted more than 30% of total households. Married couples with no children were the most common constituting 28.7% of households. It would nonetheless be inaccurate to state that the average American lives in a childless couple arrangement as 71.3% do not. Other "average" characteristics are easier to identify.

In terms of social class, the average American may be described as either being middle or working class. As social classes lack distinct boundaries the average American may have a status in the area where the lower middle and upper working class overlap. Overall the average American, age 25 or older, made roughly $32,000 per year, does not have a college degree, has been, is, or will be married as well as divorced at least once during his or her lifetime, lives in his or her own home in a suburban setting, and holds a white-collar office job."Average Joes" are common fodder for characters in television or movies, comics, novels or radio dramas. On television, examples of "average Joes" include Doug Heffernan (King of Queens), Alan Harper (Two and a Half Men) and Homer Simpson (The Simpsons). In the film Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, the protagonist, Peter, owns a gym for those who don't want an intensive workout, and the patrons of the gym are all somewhat overweight. The gym is named Average Joe's Gymnasium.In real life, as chronicled in his bestseller The Average American: The Extraordinary Search for the Nation's Most Ordinary Citizen, Kevin O'Keefe successfully completed a nationwide search for the person who was the most statistically average in the United States during a multi-year span starting in 2000. Newsweek proclaimed of the book, "The journey toward run-of-the-mill has never been so remarkable."

China National Salt Industry Corporation

China National Salt Industry Corporation (Chinese: 中国盐业总公司), abbreviated as China Salt (Chinese: 中盐), is a state-owned enterprise of China which controls a monopoly over the management and production of edible salt. The company employs 48,476 workers, and controls assets worth 44.19 billion yuan (US $7 billion) as of 2011.China Salt's subsidiary, China National Salt Industry Co., Ltd. is a joint-stock company with limited liabilities, which would be the SPV to list most of the assets of the group on stock exchange.

Community colleges in the United States

In the United States, community colleges (once commonly called junior colleges), are primarily two-year public institutions of tertiary education. Many community colleges also offer remedial education, GEDs, high school degrees, technical degrees and certificates, and a limited number of 4-year degrees.

After graduating from a community college, some students transfer to a university or liberal arts college for two to three years to complete a bachelor's degree, while others enter the workforce.

Most community college courses are taught by adjunct faculty members who are paid low wages. During the Great Recession (2007-2009), community colleges faced state budget cuts amid increases in enrollment. As a result, community colleges raised student tuition. With enrollments decreasing, lower budgets at community colleges continues with increasing reliance on adjunct professors, who are generally paid significantly less, typically receive little-to-no employment benefits, and face much greater uncertainty of continued employment semester to semester.Community colleges received attention in 2015 after President Barack Obama proposed to make community college tuition free to many residents of the United States in his State of the Union Address. The plan, called "America’s College Promise," rekindled a nationwide conversation on community colleges and the funding of higher education in general.

The proposed program would have covered tuition only; non-tuition items (e.g., textbooks, supplies, transportation, and room and board for those wishing to live on campus) would not be covered.Community college enrollment has continued to decline every year since 2010. According to the National Student Clearinghouse, enrollment at public two-year institutions was down to 5,445,562 students in Fall 2018, a 3.2 percent drop from the previous year. These declines have been mitigated through increased participation by high school students using dual enrollment. Community college tuition is currently free in seven states to qualified individuals, through College Promise programs. College Promise has been instituted in Mississippi, Indiana, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Missouri, Delaware, and Tennessee.

Demography of the United States

The United States is the third most populous country in the world with an estimated population of 328,285,992 as of January 12, 2019.The United States Census Bureau shows a population increase of 0.75% for the twelve-month period ending in July 2012. Though high by industrialized country standards, this is below the world average annual rate of 1.1%. The total fertility rate in the United States estimated for 2017 is 1.77 children per woman, which is below the replacement fertility rate of approximately 2.1.

The American population almost quadrupled during the 20th century—at a growth rate of about 1.3% a year—from about 76 million in 1900 to 281 million in 2000. It is estimated to have reached the 200 million mark in 1967, and the 300 million mark on October 17, 2006. Population growth is fastest among minorities as a whole, and according to the Census Bureau's estimation for 2012, 50.4% of American children under the age of 1 belonged to racial and ethnic minority groups.White people constitute the majority of the U.S. population, with a total of about 245,532,000 or 77.7% of the population as of 2013. Non-Hispanic whites make up 62.6% of the country's population. The non-Hispanic white population of the US is expected to fall below 50% by 2045.Hispanic and Latino Americans accounted for 48% of the national population growth of 2.9 million between July 1, 2005, and July 1, 2006. Immigrants and their U.S.-born descendants are expected to provide most of the U.S. population gains in the decades ahead.The Census Bureau projects a U.S. population of 417 million in 2060, a 38% increase from 2007 (301.3 million), and the United Nations estimates the U.S. population will be 402 million in 2050, an increase of 32% from 2007. In an official census report, it was reported that 54.4% (2,150,926 out of 3,953,593) of births in 2010 were non-Hispanic white. This represents an increase of 0.3% compared to the previous year, which was 54.1%.

Distribution (economics)

In economics, distribution is the way total output, income, or wealth is distributed among individuals or among the factors of production (such as labour, land, and capital). In general theory and the national income and product accounts, each unit of output corresponds to a unit of income. One use of national accounts is for classifying factor incomes and measuring their respective shares, as in national Income. But, where focus is on income of persons or households, adjustments to the national accounts or other data sources are frequently used. Here, interest is often on the fraction of income going to the top (or bottom) x percent of households, the next x percent, and so forth (defined by equally spaced cut points, say quintiles), and on the factors that might affect them (globalization, tax policy, technology, etc.).

Income distribution

In economics, income distribution is how a nation's total GDP is distributed amongst its population. Income and its distribution have always been a central concern of economic theory and economic policy. Classical economists such as Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, and David Ricardo were mainly concerned with factor income distribution, that is, the distribution of income between the main factors of production, land, labour and capital. Modern economists have also addressed this issue, but have been more concerned with the distribution of income across individuals and households. Important theoretical and policy concerns include the balance between income inequality and economic growth, and their often inverse relationship.The distribution of income within a society may be represented by the Lorenz curve. The Lorenz curve is closely associated with measures of income inequality, such as the Gini coefficient.

Income inequality in the United States

Income inequality in the United States is the extent to which income is distributed in an uneven manner among the American population. The inequality has increased significantly since the 1970s after several decades of stability, meaning the share of the nation's income received by higher income households has increased. This trend is evident with income measured both before taxes (market income) as well as after taxes and transfer payments, but diminishes to a significant extent if in-kind compensation is considered, such as employer-paid healthcare premiums, which have increased dramatically over the same time period. Income inequality has fluctuated considerably since measurements began around 1915, moving in an arc between peaks in the 1920s and 2000s, with a 30-year period of relatively lower inequality between 1950–1980. Recasting the 2012 income using the 1979 income distribution, the bottom 99% of families would have averaged about $7,100 more income.Measured for all households, U.S. income inequality is comparable to other developed countries before taxes and transfers, but is among the highest after taxes and transfers, meaning the U.S. shifts relatively less income from higher income households to lower income households. Measured for working-age households, market income inequality is comparatively high (rather than moderate) and the level of redistribution is moderate (not low). These comparisons indicate Americans shift from reliance on market income to reliance on income transfers later in life and less than households in other developed countries do.The U.S. ranks around the 30th percentile in income inequality globally, meaning 70% of countries have a more equal income distribution. U.S. federal tax and transfer policies are progressive and therefore reduce income inequality measured after taxes and transfers. Tax and transfer policies together reduced income inequality slightly more in 2011 than in 1979.While there is strong evidence that it has increased since the 1970s, there is active debate in the United States regarding the appropriate measurement, causes, effects and solutions to income inequality. The two major political parties have different approaches to the issue, with Democrats historically emphasizing that economic growth should result in shared prosperity (i.e., a pro-labor argument advocating income redistribution), while Republicans tend to avoid government involvement in income and wealth generation (i.e., a pro-capital argument against redistribution).According to some speculative research, US income inequality might be higher than it was during the Roman Empire, and pre-tax income inequality is as high as it was in the Roaring Twenties.

List of U.S. states and territories by income

This is a list of U.S. states, territories and the District of Columbia by income.

Per capita personal income in the United States

The per capita personal income of the United States is the income that is received by persons from all sources. It is calculated as the sum of wage and salary disbursements, supplements to wages and salaries, proprietors' income with inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments, rental income of persons with capital consumption adjustment, personal dividend income, personal interest income, and personal current transfer receipts, less contributions for government social insurance. This measure of income is calculated as the personal income of the residents of a given area divided by the resident population of the area. In computing per capita personal income, the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) uses the United States Census Bureau's annual midyear population estimates. In 2018 the average per capita personal income in the United States was US$53,820. The average per worker income was $108,245. The median personal income was not available for 2018, but in 2016 the number was $31,099.

Personal income

In economics, personal income refers to an individual's total earnings from wages, investment enterprises, and other ventures. It is the sum of all the incomes received by all the individuals or household during a given period. Personal income is that income which is received by the individuals or households in a country during the year from all sources.


Reaganomics (; a portmanteau of [Ronald] Reagan and economics attributed to Paul Harvey) refers to the economic policies promoted by U.S. President Ronald Reagan during the 1980s. These policies are commonly associated with supply-side economics, referred to as trickle-down economics or voodoo economics by political opponents, and free-market economics by political advocates.

The four pillars of Reagan's economic policy were to reduce the growth of government spending, reduce the federal income tax and capital gains tax, reduce government regulation, and tighten the money supply in order to reduce inflation.The results of Reaganomics are still debated. Supporters point to the end of stagflation, stronger GDP growth, and an entrepreneur revolution in the decades that followed. Critics point to the widening income gap, what they described as an atmosphere of greed, and the national debt tripling in eight years which ultimately reversed the post-World War II trend of a shrinking national debt as percentage of GDP.

Social economy

The social economy is formed by a rich diversity of enterprises and organisations, such as cooperatives, mutuals, associations, foundations, social enterprises and paritarian institutions, sharing common values and features:

Primacy of the individual and the social objective over capital

Voluntary and open membership

Democratic governance

Combination of interests of members/users and/or the general interest

Defence and application of the principles of solidarity and responsibility

Autonomous management and independence from public authorities

Reinvestment of -at least- most of the profits to carry out sustainable development objectives, services of interest to members or of general interestSocial economy enterprises and organisations have different sizes, ranging from SMEs to large companies and groups that are leaders in their markets, and operate in all the economic sectors.

Standard of living in the United States

The standard of living in the United States is high by the standards that most economists use, and for many decades throughout the 20th century, the United States was recognized as having the highest standard of living in the world. Per capita income is high but also less evenly distributed than in most other developed countries; as a result, the United States fares particularly well in measures of average material well being that do not place weight on equality aspects.

Upper middle class in the United States

See American Professional/Managerial middle class for a complete overview of the American middle classes.In sociology, the upper middle class of the United States is the social group constituted by higher-status members of the middle class. This is in contrast to the term lower middle class, which refers to the group at the opposite end of the middle class scale. There is considerable debate as to how the upper middle class might be defined. According to Max Weber, the upper middle class consists of well-educated professionals with graduate degrees and comfortable incomes.

The American upper middle class is defined using income, education, occupation and the associated values as main indicators. In the United States, the upper middle class is defined as consisting of white-collar professionals who have above-average personal incomes, advanced educational degrees and a high degree of autonomy in their work, leading to higher job satisfaction. The main occupational tasks of upper middle class individuals tend to center on conceptualizing, consulting, and instruction.

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