What Is The Average Salary In The US?

By Chris Kolmar
Oct. 11, 2021
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Research Summary. The average salary in the U.S. continues increasing every year and currently sits at $47,520 per year. However, what an individual earns fluctuates depending on multiple factors, including age, gender, education level, occupation, and race.

After extensive research, our data analysis team concluded:

  • 2021 data indicate the weekly median wage in the U.S. is $990, or $47,520 per year.

  • Annual U.S. salaries can vary by more than 75%, depending on the occupational group.

  • While there remains a significant salary gap between men and women, those aged 45 to 54 earn the most.

  • Individuals with higher education levels typically earn greater salaries—more than double, in some instances—than those with less education.

  • Asian workers typically earn the highest salaries, followed by White, Black, and Hispanic employees.

  • Among salary levels, 16.5% of U.S. households earn between $50,000 and $74,999, followed by $100,000 to $149,999 (15.3%) and $35,000 to $49,999 (11.6%).

General U.S. Salary Statistics

While the mean U.S. salary is more than $56,000 annually, more than 11% of the U.S. population currently lives at or below poverty thresholds.

  • As of May 2020, the median hourly wage in the U.S. was $20.17, the mean hourly wage was $27.07, and the annual mean wage was $56,310.

  • In the second quarter of 2021, the median weekly earnings of full-time workers were $990, or $47,520 per year.

  • According to one Pew Research study, middle-income earnings vary between $40,100 and $120,400 per year.

  • In 2018, 52% of U.S. adults lived in middle-income households, with 29% in lower-income households and 19% in upper-income households.

  • In May 2020, 37.2 million Americans—or 11.4% of the U.S. population—lived in poverty. This was a 1% increase over 2019, which represented the lowest recorded rate since 1959.

U.S. Poverty Threshold
Size of Family Unit Weighted Average Threshold (Annual)
One person (unrelated individual) $13,171
Under age 65 $13,465
Aged 65 and older $12,413
Two people $16,733
Householder under age 65 $17,413
Householder aged 65 and older $15,659
Three people $20,591
Four people $26,496
Five people $31,417
Six people $35,499
Seven people $40,406
Eight people $44,755
Nine people or more $53,905 [1, 2, 7, 12, 13, 14]

Average Salary Statistics by Occupational Group

U.S. workers employed in management ($126,480) and legal ($112,320) occupations earn the most per year, while those who work in serving/food preparation ($27,650) and healthcare support ($32,250) occupations earn the least. Here’s a complete breakdown:

Average Salary by Major Occupational Group
Occupation Group Median Hourly Wage Mean Hourly Wage Annual Mean Wage
Management $52.77 $60.81 $126,480
Business and Financial Operations $34.73 $38.79 $80,680
Computer and Mathematical $43.92 $46.53 $96,770
Architecture and Engineering $39.98 $43.41 $90,300
Life, Physical, and Social Science $33.54 $38.15 $79,360
Community and Social Service $22.85 $25.09 $52,180
Legal $40.82 $54.00 $112,320
Educational Instruction and Library $25.18 $28.75 $59,810
Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media $25.55 $30.96 $64,400
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical $33.59 $41.30 $85,900
Healthcare Support $14.40 $15.50 $32,250
Protective Service $21.02 $25.11 $52,220
Food Preparation and Serving-Related $12.26 $13.30 $27,650
Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance $14.39 $15.75 $32,760
Personal Care and Service $13.52 $15.68 $32,610
Sales and Related $15.15 $22.00 $45,750
Office and Administrative Support $18.62 $20.38 $42,390
Farming, Fishing, and Forestry $14.27 $16.02 $33,310
Construction and Extraction $23.37 $25.93 $53,940
Installation, Maintenance, and Repair $23.44 $25.17 $52,360
Production $18.00 $20.08 $41,760
Transportation and Material Moving $16.38 $19.08 $39,680 [1]

Average U.S. Salary by State and Territory

Workers in the District of Columbia ($95,330) earn significantly more per year than employees in other states. Massachusetts ($70,010) and California ($65,740) rank second and third, respectively.

At the other end of the spectrum, workers in Puerto Rico ($30,750) earn the least, followed by Guam ($37,470) and Mississippi ($41,600).

Average Salary by State and Territory for All Occupations
State Median Hourly Wage Mean Hourly Wage Annual Mean Wage
Alabama $17.43 $22.52 $46,840
Alaska $24.45 $29.69 $61,760
Arizona $19.35 $25.67 $53,400
Arkansas $16.51 $21.53 $44,780
California $22.74 $31.61 $65,740
Colorado $22.52 $29.25 $60,840
Connecticut $24.57 $31.46 $65,450
Delaware $20.72 $27.26 $56,700
District of Columbia $38.29 $45.83 $95,330
Florida $18.07 $24.05 $50,020
Georgia $18.59 $24.97 $51,940
Guam $13.50 $18.01 $37,470
Hawaii $22.44 $27.98 $58,190
Idaho $17.79 $22.50 $46,800
Illinois $21.01 $27.92 $58,070
Indiana $18.56 $23.39 $48,650
Iowa $19.19 $23.69 $49,280
Kansas $18.59 $23.37 $48,610
Kentucky $17.90 $22.11 $46,000
Louisiana $17.53 $22.34 $46,460
Maine $19.45 $24.62 $51,220
Maryland $23.43 $30.58 $63,610
Massachusetts $25.75 $33.66 $70,010
Michigan $19.67 $25.67 $53,390
Minnesota $22.41 $28.23 $58,720
Mississippi $15.73 $20.00 $41,600
Missouri $18.70 $24.10 $50,140
Montana $18.20 $22.73 $47,270
Nebraska $19.16 $24.16 $50,260
Nevada $18.55 $24.21 $50,360
New Hampshire ​​$21.22 $27.27 $56,730
New Jersey $23.14 $30.62 $63,690
New Mexico $17.97 $23.87 $49,650
New York $23.84 $32.62 $67,850
North Carolina $18.63 $24.52 $51,010
North Dakota $21.26 $25.22 $52,450
Ohio $19.37 $24.77 $51,510
Oklahoma $17.84 $22.76 $47,340
Oregon $21.04 $27.34 $56,880
Pennsylvania $20.08 $25.94 $53,950
Puerto Rico $10.62 $14.78 $30,750
Rhode Island $22.77 $28.96 $60,240
South Carolina $17.36 $22.22 $46,230
South Dakota $17.70 $21.62 $44,960
Tennessee $18.00 $22.85 $47,530
Texas $19.06 $25.19 $52,400
U.S. Virgin Islands $18.55 $23.06 $47,960
Utah $18.98 $24.73 $51,430
Vermont $20.80 $25.68 $53,420
Virginia $21.74 $28.92 $60,160
Washington $24.81 $32.15 $66,870
West Virginia $17.07 $21.82 $45,380
Wisconsin $19.79 $24.64 $51,250
Wyoming $20.69 $24.61 $51,180 [1]

Average U.S. Salary Statistics By Year

In the U.S., workers’ average net compensation has increased year after year since 1991. The most significant increases occurred recently between 2018 and 2019 ($1,916) and between 2017 and 2018 ($1,749).

Here’s how all the numbers have played out since 1991:

  • 1991: $20,923.84

  • 1992: $22,001.92

  • 1993: $22,191.14

  • 1994: $22,786.73

  • 1995: $23,700.11

  • 1996: $24,859.17

  • 1997: $26,309.73

  • 1998: $27,686.75

  • 1999: $29,229.69

  • 2000: $30,846.09

  • 2001: $31,581.97

  • 2002: $31,898.70

  • 2003: $32,678.48

  • 2004: $34,197.63

  • 2005: $35,448.93

  • 2006: $37,078.27

  • 2007: $38,760.95

  • 2008: $39,652.61

  • 2009: $39,054.62

  • 2010: $39,959.30

  • 2011: $41,211.36

  • 2012: $42,498.21

  • 2013: $43,041.39

  • 2014: $44,569.20

  • 2015: $46,119.78

  • 2016: $46,640.94

  • 2017: $48,251.57

  • 2018: $50,000.44

  • 2019: $51,916.27[4]

img4

Average U.S. Salary Statistics by Gender

The U.S. has one of the most significant wage disparities between men and women globally, although the gap has continuously narrowed since 1979. Still, women of all races earn meaningfully less than men for the same position.

  • As of the second quarter of 2021, women had median weekly earnings of $899, or 82.2% of the $1,094 median for men. Comparably, women’s earnings were 62% of men’s in 1979, 70% during the 1980s, 77% during the 1990s, and between 80% and 83% since 2004.

  • Based on race and ethnicity, white women earned 82.6% as much as their male counterparts, compared with:

    • 85.1% for Black women;

    • 70.4% for Asian women;

    • 86.5%for Hispanic women.

  • Men and women employed in management, professional, and related occupations earned the highest median weekly salary of $1,586 and $1,195, respectively. On the other hand, men and women employed in service occupations made the least at $713 and $586 per week, respectively.

  • In 2020, the U.S. had one of the largest wage gaps between genders (17.7%), outpaced only by Latvia (20.3%), Japan (22.5%), Israel (22.7%), and Korea (31.5%). [2, 5]

img5

U.S. Salary Statistics by Race

On average, White workers earn more than Black and Hispanic employees, but not more than Asian workers.

  • As of 2021, for full-time jobs, the median weekly earnings of Blacks ($799) and Hispanics ($779) were lower than those of Whites ($1,012) and Asians ($1,281).

  • The median weekly earnings for Black men were $877, or 78.7% of the median for White men ($1,115).

  • Median earnings for Hispanic men were $825, or 74% of the median for White men.

  • Black women’s median earnings were $746, or 81% of those for White women ($921).

  • Hispanic women’s earnings were $714, or 77.5% of those for White women.

  • Asian men’s ($1,473) and women’s ($1,037) earnings were meaningfully higher than their White counterparts. [2]

img1

U.S. Salary Statistics By Age

In general, the older an employee is, the more they’ll earn. However, data indicate a peak for men and women between the ages of 45 and 54, followed by a slight decline after the age of 55.

Median Weekly Earnings by Age and Sex
Age Group Total Men Women
16+ $990 $1,094 $899
16 to 19 $555 $595 $501
20 to 24 $633 $656 $613
25 to 34 $928 $961 $886
35 to 44 $1,119 $1,242 $968
45 to 54 $1,134 $1,279 $985
55 to 64 $1,130 $1,246 $973
65+ $989 $1,141 $816

Annually, here are the average incomes in 10-year increments:

  • Age 25: $38,805.53

  • Age 35: $70,756.02

  • Age 45: $76,259.75

  • Age 55: $80,704.96

  • Age 65: $86,932.04

To fall into the top 1% (99th percentile), workers need to earn different amounts, depending on their age. For example:

  • Age 25: $164,012

  • Age 35: $403,800

  • Age 45: $445,000

  • Age 55: $495,530

  • Age 65: $565,707 [2, 8, 9]

img2

U.S. Salary Statistics by Education

Data indicate the higher a person’s educational attainment, the more they’ll earn. In fact, an individual with a bachelor’s degree makes more than double the average weekly wage of someone with no high school diploma.

  • By educational attainment, full-time workers age 25 and over earned the following per week:

    • No high school diploma: $620

    • High school graduates (no college): $793

    • Bachelor’s degree: $1,438

  • These numbers represent increases of $100, $81, $265, respectively, compared to 2017.

  • Among male college graduates with advanced degrees, the highest-earning 10% made $4,508+ per week, compared with $2,919+ for females.

Median Annual Earnings of Full-Time, Year-Round Workers ages 25–34, by Educational Attainment and Sex: 2019
Education Level Men Women
All $50,000 $43,800
Less than high school completion $29,700 $25,300
High school completion $39,900 $29,800
Some college, no degree $42,500 $32,800
Associate’s degree $48,400 $34,800
Bachelor’s degree $64,000 $50,000
Master’s or higher degree $84,000 $60,900 [2, 10, 11]

U.S. Salary Statistics by Household Income

Real median household income decreased 2.9% from $69,560 in 2019 to $67,521 in 2020. Here’s how it was distributed:

  • Under $15,000: 9.4%

  • $15,000 to $24,999: 8.7%

  • $25,000 to $34,999: 8.1%

  • $35,000 to $49,999: 11.6%

  • $50,000 to $74,999: 16.5%

  • $75,000 to $99,999: 12.2%

  • $100,000 to $149,999: 15.3%

  • $150,000 to $199,999: 8%

  • $200,000 and over: 10.3%

When it comes to all races, the real median household income is $67,521. Broken down, we find the following:

  • Black: $45,870

  • Hispanic (any race): $55,321

  • White, not Hispanic: $74,912

  • Asian: $94,903 [6, 7]

img3

Conclusion

While it’s positive that the average U.S. worker’s salary has increased every year since 2009, there’s still a lot of progress to make when it comes to disparities based on gender and race. Furthermore, a meaningful percentage of the population (more than one in 10) lives at or below poverty levels.

FAQ

What is the average salary in the U.S.?
Based on 2021 data, the average weekly salary in the U.S. is $990, or $47,520 annually.

What’s considered middle-class income?
Middle-class income earnings range between $40,100 and $120,400 per year.

How much do you have to earn to be in the top 1%?
According to 2019 data from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), U.S. workers have to make at least $758,434 annually to be in the top 1% of wage earners.

How much higher are U.S. men’s salaries than women’s?
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 data, men’s annual earnings were 17.7% higher than women’s.

Sources

  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. May 2020 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates. Accessed on 9/24/21.

  2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers Second Quarter 2021. Accessed on 9/24/21.

  3. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Highlights of women’s earnings in 2020. Accessed on 9/24/21.

  4. Social Security Administration. Measures Of Central Tendency For Wage Data. Accessed on 9/24/21.

  5. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Gender wage gap. Accessed on 9/24/21.

  6. Statista. Percentage distribution of household income in the U.S. in 2020. Accessed on 9/24/21.

  7. United States Census Bureau. Income and Poverty in the United States: 2020. Accessed on 9/24/21.

  8. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers by age and sex. Accessed on 9/25/21.

  9. DQYDJ. Average Income by Age plus Median, Top 1%, and All Income Percentiles. Accessed on 9/25/21.

  10. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Measuring the value of education. Accessed on 9/25/21.

  11. National Center for Education Statistics. Annual Earnings by Educational Attainment. Accessed on 9/25/21.

  12. United States Census Bureau. Poverty Thresholds. Accessed on 9/25/21.

  13. Pew Research Center. Are you in the American middle class? Accessed on 9/25/21.

  14. Pew Research Center. Most Americans Say There Is Too Much Economic Inequality in the U.S., but Fewer Than Half Call It a Top Priority. Accessed on 9/25/21.

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Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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