Income Ranking In The US

In a recent article titled Where Do You Stand On America's Wealth Spectrum?, author Lee Eisenberg discussed the current annual income of American families. Interesting to note was that if you earn 6-figures, you are in the top 20%...

Income level (percentile) | Median income (rounded)
Level VI (90 to 100) $170,000
Level V (80 to 89.9) $99,000
Level IV (60 to 79.9) $65,000
Level III (40 to 59.9) $40,000
Level II (20 to 39.9) $24,000
Level I (less than 20) $10,000

I have to admit, these numbers actually surprised me. The author notes:

"If you and yours are bringing in $40,000 a year, you're doing better than half the households in America."

As the head of household in a one-income family, I'm doing pretty darn good! No better way to start the week than a nice little confidence boost like that 😉


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  1. Tuppy Glossop says:

    I'm very surprised by that number of $40,000. I would have thought it would be higher than that.

    I guess I'm wealthier than I think ... now if I can only persuade my bank manager of that!


  2. Me too - but maybe its more sad that half the american families seem to be struggling...

    The article goes on to discuss Net Worth, and how that is obviously a better guage for where you stand financially. You can be far 'wealthier' in the $40k bracket than someone might be in the $200k bracket, for example 😉

  3. Chris Jacobson says:

    I'm also surprised that number is so low. I guess it makes sense when you think about it population-wise.

    The average income in Canada is about $60,000 or so.

  4. “You and your broker
    If you're not parked near the top of the ramp, you're of little or no interest to financial services firms and financial advisers. There's no money to be made at these levels. Last year, a handful of Wall Street firms told their brokers they would no longer receive commissions on accounts holding less than $50,000. This effectively tells people with nano-Numbers to get lost".

    Based on that article quoted above, It sound like there is a niche market that can be found here. There is a large segment of the population in this group being told to “get lost”. As an Internet marketer I see opportunity to help and prosper. We all are chasing the American dream for riches and happiness. The large investment firms have forgotten about the smaller guy who makes a large portion of the overall population. The large firms are not targeting this group with a vehicle to reach that next parking deck. (Level of income). Here’s an idea. Why not target this group with an ebook or online product that will education and help them drive to the next a parking deck?

  5. The Story Ideas Virtuoso says:

    The really depressing thing is being in the lowest category [sigh]. But I take hope in what the 2004 survey said: "Families headed by self-employed workers consistently have the highest median and mean incomes of all work-status groups. Income is also higher for homeowners than for other families."

    I'm bothered by two things in the Eisenberg article referenced above. First, he uses the 2001 survey for his statistics. Why, when it's 7-year-old information? The 2004 survey that was published last year is four years old. The surveys are done every two years, for the previous year. So in 2004, they did the survey for 2001 and 2003, and then published it in 2006. That means this year they're doing 2004 and 2006, and it probably won't be published until 2009. But then I don't begin to fathom economic why's and wherefore's. So much of it is just McSpeak, as far as I'm concerned. You can make statistics say anything.

    The second thing that bothered me was the article's use of median income. To refresh your memory from math class (I had to look it up myself because back in the dark ages when I was in high school, we didn't use mean, median and mode), MEDIAN is simply the middle number in a numeric sequence, if there are an odd number of values in the list. And if there are an even number, then the median is the average of the two values in the middle, rounded.

    For the sequence 1, 3, 5, 8, the median is 4 (average of 3 and 5).
    For the sequence 3, 4, 14, 35, 280, the median is 14.

    I could see no reason to use just the median income. When I read the report, however, the more useful (IMHO) mean, which is simply the average, was used alongside the median. Eisenberg ignored this figure, probably because the two figures were surprisingly similar -- less than $1000 difference in most cases -- EXCEPT when it comes to the top ten percent.

    Here are the numbers from the 2001 report for the top income group (notice the contrast of the median and mean):
    1998 Median Income - $142,200
    1998 Mean Income - $239,000

    2000 Median Income - $169,600
    2000 Mean Income - $302,700

    Interesting, isn't it? Between 1998 and 2000, the average income for the wealthiest families in the US rose by $63,700. By contrast, the 40th percentile's average income rose by just over $3000, from $37,000 to $40,300 during this same period.

    Now here are the numbers from the 2004 report for the top income group:
    2001 Median Income - $180,600
    2001 Mean Income - $322,400

    2003 Median Income - $184,800
    2003 Mean Income - $302,100

    Between 2001 and 2003, the average income for the wealthiest families in the US declined by $20,300. By contrast, the 40th percentile's average income rose by $200. (Thank God for small favors?)

    With our current economic climate, who knows what the next survey will show? You can be sure of one thing, however. Whatever data is contained therein, both political parties will use it to prove the other at fault for the negatives and to take personal credit for the positives.

  6. Excellent breakdown, Deb - great stuff!

  7. - internet marketing training online says:

    This is incredible:

    “If you and yours are bringing in $40,000 a year, you’re doing better than half the households in America.”

    This means that more than half of American earns less than $40,000 per year?

    I used to think the figure is much MORE than this.

  8. ecommerce solutions says:

    such a generalized number. Ego booster, maybe, however location, assets, and the way the money is saved/spent is far more indicative as a way to measure wealth. If someone is making 100,000 / year but is spending on expensive cars, etc..., how wealthy is that person, since a car is not an asset? 40,000 is pretty low - I question their methods on coming up with this figure in the first place. Interesting, none-the-less.

  9. I agree - with both of your points. It's all relative.

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