Incomes in America- Average, Median, Top 1% Household Income Percentiles 2021

Exactly what is income for Americans? For those who find that question interesting, here are some recent data. Oh I know, look elsewhere and you will find variations, but it is what it is. Needless to say there are wide geographical differences. If you earn $40,000 in Mississippi, you’re doing okay, not so much if you live in California or New Jersey.

The pandemic caused a drop in incomes across the board.

What was the median household income?

In 2021, $67,463 was the median household income in the United States. This is down from $68,400 in 2019.

What was the average household income?

The average household income was $96,955.04 in 2021. It was $97,973.61 in 2020 (not adjusted for inflation).

What is the top 1% household income?

To be in the top 1% in 2021, a household needed to earn $504,420.00. $531,020 was the threshold in 2020.

Household Income Percentiles for the United States in 2021

While summary statistics are nice, there’s no replacement for a more complete view of the US income distribution… so below, find every household income percentile in 2021.

Household Income Percentile 2021 2020 Absolute Increase Percentage Change
1% $0 $0 $0 0.00%
2% $800 $1,400 -$600 -75.00%
3% $4,165 $5,000 -$835 -20.05%
4% $7,200 $8,174 -$974 -13.53%
5% $9,372 $9,860 -$488 -5.21%
6% $10,735 $11,130 -$395 -3.68%
7% $12,000 $12,210 -$210 -1.75%
8% $13,200 $13,596 -$396 -3.00%
9% $14,401 $14,843 -$442 -3.07%
10% $15,600 $16,020 -$420 -2.69%
11% $16,776 $17,226 -$450 -2.68%
12% $18,000 $18,427 -$427 -2.37%
13% $19,010 $19,745 -$735 -3.87%
14% $20,000 $20,826 -$826 -4.13%
15% $21,035 $22,066 -$1,031 -4.90%
16% $22,300 $23,502 -$1,202 -5.39%
17% $23,600 $24,872 -$1,272 -5.39%
18% $24,800 $25,668 -$868 -3.50%
19% $25,750 $26,926 -$1,176 -4.57%
20% $27,012 $28,035 -$1,023 -3.79%
21% $28,241 $29,677 -$1,436 -5.08%
22% $29,700 $30,480 -$780 -2.63%
23% $30,398 $31,983 -$1,585 -5.21%
24% $31,800 $33,005 -$1,205 -3.79%
25% $33,003 $34,301 -$1,298 -3.93%
26% $34,510 $35,289 -$779 -2.26%
27% $35,470 $36,695 -$1,225 -3.45%
28% $36,712 $38,200 -$1,488 -4.05%
29% $38,002 $39,861 -$1,859 -4.89%
30% $39,506 $40,348 -$842 -2.13%
31% $40,324 $41,821 -$1,497 -3.71%
32% $41,781 $43,000 -$1,219 -2.92%
33% $43,002 $44,488 -$1,486 -3.46%
34% $44,517 $45,300 -$783 -1.76%
35% $45,750 $46,863 -$1,113 -2.43%
36% $47,120 $48,200 -$1,080 -2.29%
37% $48,572 $49,801 -$1,229 -2.53%
38% $50,000 $50,310 -$310 -0.62%
39% $50,787 $52,000 -$1,213 -2.39%
40% $52,145 $53,431 -$1,286 -2.47%
41% $53,820 $55,000 -$1,180 -2.19%
42% $55,010 $56,100 -$1,090 -1.98%
43% $56,516 $57,727 -$1,211 -2.14%
44% $58,014 $59,274 -$1,260 -2.17%
45% $59,896 $60,124 -$228 -0.38%
46% $60,701 $61,851 -$1,150 -1.89%
47% $62,340 $63,401 -$1,061 -1.70%
48% $64,182 $65,001 -$819 -1.28%
49% $65,712 $66,700 -$988 -1.50%
50% $67,463 $68,400 -$937 -1.39%
51% $69,420 $70,021 -$601 -0.87%
52% $70,738 $71,885 -$1,147 -1.62%
53% $72,616 $73,520 -$904 -1.24%
54% $74,315 $75,044 -$729 -0.98%
55% $75,710 $76,785 -$1,075 -1.42%
56% $77,504 $79,001 -$1,497 -1.93%
57% $79,543 $80,379 -$836 -1.05%
58% $81,010 $82,403 -$1,393 -1.72%
59% $83,015 $84,821 -$1,806 -2.18%
60% $85,051 $86,402 -$1,351 -1.59%
61% $87,262 $88,938 -$1,676 -1.92%
62% $89,868 $90,718 -$850 -0.95%
63% $91,701 $93,002 -$1,301 -1.42%
64% $93,901 $95,204 -$1,303 -1.39%
65% $96,081 $97,628 -$1,547 -1.61%
66% $98,557 $100,000 -$1,443 -1.46%
67% $100,236 $101,960 -$1,724 -1.72%
68% $102,625 $104,416 -$1,791 -1.75%
69% $105,097 $106,731 -$1,634 -1.55%
70% $107,964 $109,560 -$1,596 -1.48%
71% $110,263 $111,800 -$1,537 -1.39%
72% $113,052 $115,000 -$1,948 -1.72%
73% $116,000 $118,000 -$2,000 -1.72%
74% $119,834 $120,508 -$674 -0.56%
75% $122,500 $123,580 -$1,080 -0.88%
76% $125,823 $126,626 -$803 -0.64%
77% $129,800 $130,350 -$550 -0.42%
78% $133,202 $134,212 -$1,010 -0.76%
79% $137,332 $138,229 -$897 -0.65%
80% $141,100 $142,400 -$1,300 -0.92%
81% $145,946 $147,076 -$1,130 -0.77%
82% $150,275 $151,212 -$937 -0.62%
83% $155,030 $155,769 -$739 -0.48%
84% $160,010 $160,522 -$512 -0.32%
85% $165,412 $166,285 -$873 -0.53%
86% $171,277 $172,104 -$827 -0.48%
87% $177,664 $178,051 -$387 -0.22%
88% $184,696 $185,005 -$309 -0.17%
89% $192,817 $192,490 $327 0.17%
90% $201,052 $200,968 $84 0.04%
91% $211,350 $210,315 $1,035 0.49%
92% $223,895 $221,399 $2,496 1.11%
93% $238,006 $234,322 $3,684 1.55%
94% $253,500 $250,590 $2,910 1.15%
95% $273,850 $270,358 $3,492 1.28%
96% $299,005 $295,532 $3,473 1.16%
97% $334,009 $329,352 $4,657 1.39%
98% $386,915 $387,116 -$201 -0.05%
99% $504,420 $531,020 -$26,600 -5.27%

Source: Average, Median, Top 1% Household Income Percentiles [2021] – DQYDJ

40 comments

  1. My impression is that at least 30% of households are not doing well. It takes a lot of lower paid workers to pay enough in FICA to send out a social security check to even one retiree.

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      1. Apparently that was the first of a series of debates from…

        Alliance for Lifetime Income

        Protected Lifetime Income

        Wall Street Journal

        If that’s not enough, how ’bout some Stones?

        “We’re teaming up once again with the Rolling Stones as the sole official sponsor of the band’s US tour.”

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  2. Very interesting. Does anyone have further clarification of how “household income” is calculated? I would assume you’d add back deductions such as taxes, insurance, pre-tax retirement and HSA contributions, etc. So essentially your “base salary” + any variable based pay (bonuses, commissions, etc.) + interest/dividends + any related business income? Seems to me the definition would be pretty hard to wrap your arms around. BUT, great information and does provide some parameters. Thanks as always. Really look forward to your posts.

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    1. I tried to look at the data from the US Census bureau and it also appears they created the 2021 from surveys back in March 2021 and supplement the data in September. I was looking for that magic number where in 2020, almost 61% of household income did not pay federal income tax. Look at this chart it would imply that 61% made about $87K in 2021. The best I was able to do for 2020 was some where between $40 – 60K using IRS data.
      Since is data is collected from surveys in the beginning of the year, I wonder if they were just taking the first quarter guesses and multiplying it by 4?

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