How Much Do Americans Make? Breakdown by State Household Median Income

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Is $50,000 considered a good income that you and your family can comfortably live on? Probably not in most places, but this is roughly the median income of the average American household. Or stated another way – 50% of households make less than this amount, while 50% make more. But income levels do vary by state, reflecting the disparate cost of living across the nation. As the table below shows northern states like New Hampshire and Connecticut have much higher household incomes than those in the South, with an almost $30,000 difference between the highest and lowest income states. Talk about income inequality in this nation!


Median US State Income

Household income is a measure commonly used by the United States government and private institutions, that counts the income of all residents over the age of 18 in each household, including not only all wages and salaries, but such items as unemployment insurance, disability payments, child support payments, regular rental receipts, as well as any personal business, investment, or other kinds of income received routinely. The residents of the household do not have to be related to the head of the household for their earnings to be considered part of the household’s income. (Wikipedia)

While the average income, in real (inflation adjusted) terms, has grown at a steady pace during the 20th century, it has remained relatively flat during the 21st century. The main exception to this are the ultra-wealthy, about 2% of the population, who now account for roughly 25% of all household income. This is about double that it was 30 years ago. While the the bottom 10% earned only 1% of the national income – confirming many liberal views that the rich get richer, while the poor get poorer.

Where does your household income stand?

Based on the latest census bureau data, you can use the following guide to roughly asses which income percentile your household falls relative to other Americans:


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Bo July 26

$35K in Mississippi is probably worth a lot more than $35K in New Jersey or New Hampshire. Would be interested in seeing how these numbers stack up when adjusted for cost of living differences.

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andys2i July 26

That would be interesting. I’ll look in to that for a future article.

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Laura July 11

Would be interested in knowing what the #s are broken down by major cities in the U.S.

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