Personal income in the United States

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Real Median Personal Income in the United States over time Real Median Personal Income in the United States.png
Real Median Personal Income in the United States over time
Median personal income for the population age 25 or older in 2005 Personal income.png
Median personal income for the population age 25 or older in 2005

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. [2] The U.S Bureau of the Census has the annual median personal income at $31,099 in 2016. [3] Inflation-adjusted ("real") per-capita disposable personal income rose steadily in the U.S. from 1945 to 2008, but has since remained generally level. [4] [5]

Bureau of Labor Statistics US government agency

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a unit of the United States Department of Labor. It is the principal fact-finding agency for the U.S. government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics and serves as a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System. The BLS is a governmental statistical agency that collects, processes, analyzes, and disseminates essential statistical data to the American public, the U.S. Congress, other Federal agencies, State and local governments, business, and labor representatives. The BLS also serves as a statistical resource to the United States Department of Labor, and conducts research into how much families need to earn to be able to enjoy a decent standard of living.

Inflation increase in the general price level of goods and services in an economy over a period of time

In economics, inflation is a sustained increase in the general price level of goods and services in an economy over a period of time. When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services; consequently, inflation reflects a reduction in the purchasing power per unit of money – a loss of real value in the medium of exchange and unit of account within the economy. The opposite of inflation is deflation, a sustained decrease in the general price level of goods and services. The common measure of inflation is the inflation rate, the annualized percentage change in a general price index, usually the consumer price index, over time.

Disposable income is total personal income minus personal current taxes. In national accounts definitions, personal income minus personal current taxes equals disposable personal income. Subtracting personal outlays yields personal savings, hence the income left after paying away all the taxes is referred to as disposable income.

Contents

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 [6] to $55,935 for a full-time, year-round employed Asian American male. [7] According to the US Census, men tended to have higher income than women, while Asians and Whites earned more than African Americans and Hispanics.

Educational attainment in the United States

The educational attainment of the U.S. 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. As a whole, the population of the United States is spending more years in formal educational programs. As with income, levels differ by race, age, household configuration and geography.

Hispanic Americans are Americans who are descendants of people from Spain or Spanish America. More generally, it includes all Americans who speak the Spanish language natively, and who self-identify as Hispanic, whether of full or partial ancestry. For the 2010 United States Census, people counted as "Hispanic" or "Latino" were those who identified as one of the specific Hispanic or Latino categories listed on the census questionnaire as well as those who indicated that they were "other Spanish, Hispanic or Latino." The national origins classified as Hispanic or Latino by the United States Census Bureau are the following: Argentine, Cuban, Colombian, Peruvian, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican, Costa Rican, Guatemalan, Honduran, Nicaraguan, Panamanian, Salvadoran, Bolivian, Spanish American, Chilean, Ecuadorian, Paraguayan, Uruguayan, and Venezuelan. Brazilian Americans, other Portuguese-speaking Latin American groups, and non-Spanish speaking Latin American groups in the United States are solely defined as "Latino" by some U.S. government agencies. The Census Bureau uses the terms Hispanic and Latino interchangeably.

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.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or simply America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.

Bureau of Economic Analysis statistical service

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of the United States Department of Commerce is a U.S. government agency that provides official macroeconomic and industry statistics, most notably reports about the gross domestic product (GDP) of the United States and its various units—states, cities/towns/townships/villages/counties and metropolitan areas. They also provide information about personal income, corporate profits, and government spending in their National Income and Product Accounts (NIPAs).

Consumer spending

Consumer spending, consumption, or consumption expenditure is the acquisition of goods and services by individuals or families. It is the largest part of aggregate demand at the macroeconomic level. There are two components of consumer spending: induced consumption and autonomous consumption.

Personal income and disposable personal income

Household spending in the United States Household spending United States.png
Household spending in the United States

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. [8]

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. [9]

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. [10]

Survey of Income and Program Participation

The Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) is a statistical survey conducted by the United States Census Bureau.

American Community Survey demographic survey in the United States

The American Community Survey (ACS) is an ongoing survey by the U.S. Census Bureau. It regularly gathers information previously contained only in the long form of the decennial census, such as ancestry, citizenship, educational attainment, income, language proficiency, migration, disability, employment, and housing characteristics. These data are used by many public-sector, private-sector, and not-for-profit stakeholders to allocate funding, track shifting demographics, plan for emergencies, and learn about local communities. Sent to approximately 295,000 addresses monthly, it is the largest household survey that the Census Bureau administers.

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 [11] 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. [12]

By educational attainment

Historical median personal income by education attainment in the US.png
Median personal income by educational attainment (2017) [2] [13]
MeasureSome high schoolHigh school graduateSome 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. [2] 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, [14] even though only 9.2% of Americans had incomes exceeding $100,000 in 2010. [2]

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. [15]

Income distribution among all those above age 25 and those between 25 and 64 with earnings. NOTE: 25+ statistics will not add up exactly to 100% due to the unemployment rate Age personal income.png
Income distribution among all those above age 25 and those between 25 and 64 with earnings. NOTE: 25+ statistics will not add up exactly to 100% due to the unemployment rate
Income rangeNumber of peoplePercent in groupPercent at or belowCumulative percentages
Under $2,50014,689,0006.486.48less than $25k
42.87%
less than $50k
70.23%
less than $100k
90.85%
$2,500 to $4,9996,262,0002.769.24
$5,000 to $7,4997,657,0003.3812.62
$7,500 to $9,99910,551,0004.6517.27
$10,000 to $12,49912,474,0005.5022.77
$12,500 to $14,9998,995,0003.9726.74
$15,000 to $17,49910,672,0004.7131.44
$17,500 to $19,9997,931,0003.5034.94
$20,000 to $22,49911,301,0004.8639.80
$22,500 to $24,9996,962,0003.0742.87
$25,000 to $50,000
$25,000 to $27,4999,623,0004.2447.12$25k–$50k
27.36%
$27,500 to $29,9995,535,0002.4449.56
$30,000 to $32,49910,399,0004.5954.15
$32,500 to $34,9994,429,0001.9556.10
$35,000 to $37,4997,975,0003.5259.62
$37,500 to $39,9993,930,0001.7361.35
$40,000 to $42,4998,091,0003.5764.92
$42,500 to $44,9993,113,0001.3766.29
$45,000 to $47,4995,718,0002.5268.81
$47,500 to $49,9993,221,0001.4270.23
$50,000 to $75,000
$50,000 to $52,4997,130,0003.1473.38$50k–$75k
14.06%
$50k–$100k
20.62%
$52,500 to $54,9992,489,0001.1074.47
$55,000 to $57,4993,834,0001.6976.16
$57,500 to $59,9992,066,0000.9177.08
$60,000 to $62,4995,047,0002.2379.30
$62,500 to $64,9991,894,0000.8480.14
$65,000 to $67,4993,289,0001.4581.59
$67,500 to $69,9991,493,0000.6682.24
$70,000 to $72,4993,264,0001.4483.68
$72,500 to $74,9991,372,0000.6184.29
$75,000 to $100,000
$75,000 to $77,4992,922,0001.2985.58$75k–$100k
6.56%
$77,500 to $79,9991,307,0000.5886.15
$80,000 to $82,4992,725,0001.2087.36
$82,500 to $84,9991,021,0000.4587.81
$85,000 to $87,4991,508,0000.6788.47
$87,500 to $89,999856,0000.3888.85
$90,000 to $92,4991,966,0000.8789.72
$92,500 to $94,999712,0000.3190.03
$95,000 to $97,4991,090,0000.4890.51
$97,500 to $99,999768,0000.3490.85
$100,000 or more
$100,000 or more20,755,0009.151009.15%

SOURCE: US Census Bureau, Current Population Survey 2016 [2]

Over time, by ethnicity and sex

This chart is median income of 15 year olds or older, who have non-zero income. [18] Amounts are shown in nominal dollars and in real dollars (in parentheses, 2017 dollars).

19501960197019801990200020042016[ citation needed ]
OverallMale$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 AmericanMale$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 AmericanMale$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)
AsianMaleNANANANA$19,394 ($36,520)$30,833 ($44,050)$32,419 ($42,230)$46,590 ($46,590)
FemaleNANANANA$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. [19] 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. [19] [20]

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 [20] [21] and 35% less than Asian Americans. [19] 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. [22]

Overall the race gap between African Americans and Whites has remained roughly equal between both races over the past decade. [20] [23] 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. [20] [23]

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." [24] [3]

RaceOverall medianHigh schoolSome collegeCollege graduateBachelor's degreeMaster's degreeDoctorate
Total populationAll, age 25+32,14026,50531,05449,30343,14352,39070,853
Full-time workers, age 25-6439,50931,61037,15056,02750,95961,32479,292
White aloneAll, age 25+33,03027,31131,56449,97243,83352,31871,268
Full-time workers, age 25-6440,42232,42738,48156,90351,54361,44177,906
Asian aloneAll, age 25+36,15225,28529,98251,48142,46661,45269,653
Full-time workers, age 25-6442,10927,04133,12060,53251,04071,31691,430
African AmericanAll, age 25+27,10122,37927,64844,53441,57248,26661,894
Full-time workers, age 25-6432,02126,23032,39247,75845,50552,85873,265
Hispanic or Latino (of any race)All, age 25+23,61322,94128,69841,59637,81950,90167,274
Full-time workers, age 25-6427,26626,46133,12046,59441,83153,880N/A

Source: US Census Bureau, 2006 [25]

See also

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References

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  18. Taken from World Almanac (in turn sourced to US Census Bureau)
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