The median household income for the United States in 2021 was $70,824, according to the latest data available from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. Maryland, Washington, D.C., and New Hampshire had the highest median incomes, while Mississippi, Arkansas and West Virginia had the lowest.
- Key findings on median household income in America
- Median household income by state
- Median household income by year
- Median household income by age and gender
- Median household income by race
- Median household income by U.S. region and division
- Median household income by ZIP code
- Average household income by income level
- What is median household income?
- What percentage of households make over $100k?
- What percentage of households make over $200k?
- How much income does the top 1% of households earn?
- FAQs about median household income
Key findings on median household income in America
The median household income in the U.S. for 2021 is is $70,784, up from $68,010 in 2020. When examining median household income by state, the state with the highest median household income is Maryland at $97,332. The state with the lowest median household income is Mississippi at $46,637.
Average personal income
To look at individual incomes, as opposed to household incomes, the Bureau of Economic Analysis tracks per capita personal income. The per capita personal income for the U.S. in 2020 was $59,765, and it climbed to $64,143 in 2021.
The state with the highest individual income is Massachusetts, with a per capita personal income of $83,653. The District of Columbia had a higher per capita personal income at $96,477, but it’s not considered a state. The state with the lowest individual income is Mississippi, with a per capita personal income of $45,881.
Median household income by state
Looking at the geographic distribution of median household income in the U.S. reveals that a northern corridor spanning from New Hampshire to Virginia has some of the highest median household incomes in the country, along with a stretch from California to Washington. Meanwhile the South and parts of the Midwest have some of the lowest.
Median household income in America can vary widely depending on the state. For 2021, median household incomes range from $46,637 to $97,332, which is a swing of more than $50,000.
Note: Washington, D.C., had the second-highest median income at $90,640. But since it’s not a state, we didn’t include it in our lists.
Here are the 10 states with the highest median household income.
- Maryland: $97,332
- New Hampshire: $88,841
- New Jersey: $88,559
- Utah: $87,649
- Washington: $87,648
- Massachusetts: $86,566
- Colorado: $84,954
- Hawaii: $82,199
- Oregon: $81,855
- California: $81,575
And here are the 10 states with the lowest median household incomes.
- Mississippi: $46,637
- West Virginia: $46,836
- Arkansas: $50,784
- New Mexico: $53,463
- Kentucky: $55,629
- Alabama: $56,929
- Louisiana: $57,206
- Florida: $59,734
- Oklahoma: $60,096
- Georgia: $61,497
Here’s a look at the median household income in each state, with all 50 states listed from lowest median household income to highest.
|State||Median household income, 2021|
|District of Columbia||$90,640|
If we look at median household income by state over the last five years, New Hampshire had the highest median household income in 2015 and 2016. Then in 2017, Maryland overtook it to have the highest median household income, followed by Massachusetts in 2018. Maryland returned to the top in 2019 through 2021. Over that same time period, Mississippi ranked as the state with the lowest median household income every year.
Median household income by year
There are two ways to look at median household income in the U.S. over time, and they are revealing. The first way is median household income in current dollars, which is another way of saying the figures are nominal: They are not adjusted for inflation. The second way is median household income in 2021 inflation-adjusted dollars.
The following is a table of median household income by year, going back two decades. The table includes both nominal household income and inflation-adjusted household income.
|Year||Median household income, current dollars||Median household income, in 2021 inflation-adjusted dollars|
When looking at median household income in nominal figures, incomes generally increase year over year. The exceptions to this trend occur from 2008–2009, 2009–2010, and 2019–2020.
However, when analyzing median household income in America in inflation-adjusted dollars, the pattern is much more complicated. From a high of $66,248 in 2000, median household income in the U.S. then declined each year until 2004, for a decline of 3.8% from 2000 to 2004.
During the years of the housing bubble — roughly 2004 to 2007 — median household income increased year on year, peaking at $65,801 in 2007. But with the onset of the Great Recession, median household income plunged, declining for five years straight and bottoming out at $60,313 in 2012. From 2007 to 2012, the median household income in the U.S. declined by 8.3%.
Since 2012, incomes have been on a march upward, reaching their most recent peak with a median household income of $72,808 in 2019. In 2020, likely due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, median household income declined to $71,186. Overall, in 2021 inflation-adjusted dollars, the median household income in America grew by 6.8%, from $66,248 in 2000 to $70,784 in 2021.
Median household income by age and gender
Household incomes tend to increase with the age of the householder — the person who owns or rents the home — but only up to a point. According to Census data, median household income peaks among householders ages 45 to 54 at $97,089.
From here, incomes decline for older Americans, with those ages 55 to 64 having a median household income of $75,842 and those ages 65 and older having a median household income of $47,620.
Here are the median household incomes for six age groups.
|Age of householder||Median household income, 2021|
In terms of income, householders ages 15 to 24 exceeded those ages 65 years and older by a little over $4,000. Meanwhile, householders ages 25 to 34 have a median household income that’s only about $980 less than those ages 55 to 64.
Median household income by gender is complicated in the way the Census Bureau tracks its income data. For example, it breaks down median household income data by gender only in terms of family households and nonfamily households.
The best way to look at incomes of male and female Americans is to use figures that the Census Bureau labels as “median earnings for full-time, year-round workers with earnings.”
This table lays out all the data available for income by gender.
|Gender||Median earnings, 2021|
|Gender||Median household income, 2021|
|Female householder, no spouse present||$51,168|
|Male householder, no spouse present||$70,525|
|Female householder, nonfamily household||$35,737|
|Male householder, nonfamily household||$49,466|
Across all measures, females have lower median incomes than males. In terms of median earnings for full-time workers, women earn 18.5% less than men.
For family households in which there is no spouse present, females have a median household income that’s 27.4% less than males. And in nonfamily households, females have a median household income that’s 27.8% less than males.
Median household income by race
Household incomes in the U.S. vary considerably by race and ethnicity. When households are broken down by race and ethnicity, median household incomes range from $48,297 to $101,418.
This table shows median household incomes by race and ethnicity as tracked by the Census Bureau.
|Race and/or ethnicity (as categorized by the U.S. Census Bureau)||Median household income, 2021|
|White alone, not Hispanic||$77,999|
|Black alone or in combination||$48,815|
|Asian alone or in combination||$101,056|
|American Indian and Alaska Native, alone or in combination||$51,282|
|American Indian and Alaska Native alone||$51,097|
|Hispanic (any race)||$57,981|
Households that reported themselves as “Asian alone” had the highest median household income. Those of “Black alone” had the lowest.
Over the last decade, “American Indian and Alaska Native alone” households have experienced the greatest growth in median household income, rising by 28.2% from $39,867 in 2010 (in 2021 inflation-adjusted dollars).
Median household income by U.S. region and division
The Census Bureau divides up the U.S. into four regions: Northeast, South, Midwest and West. These regions are further divided into nine divisions.
In this table, you’ll find the median household income for each region and division of the U.S. in 2020, the latest year that data were available.
|Region||Division||Median household income, 2020|
|East North Central||$61,548|
|West North Central||$63,182|
|East South Central||$52,254|
|West South Central||$59,858|
The Northeast region has the highest median household income ($72,698), while the South has the lowest median household income ($59,816). In terms of divisions, New England has the highest median household income ($77,376), followed by the Pacific division ($77,080) and the Middle Atlantic ($71,034).
The divisions with the lowest median household incomes are ...
- East South Central ($52,254), which includes Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee
- West South Central ($59,858), which includes Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas
- East North Central ($61,548), which includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin
Median household income by ZIP code
ZIP codes are what the postal office uses for dividing the U.S. into manageable areas for mail delivery.
When looking at median household income by ZIP code for 2020 (the last year data were available), an interesting situation arises due to the way Census data is collected: Median household incomes reach a ceiling and are denoted simply as “$250,000+” in areas where household incomes are very high.
This table includes all ZIP codes in which the median household income is above $250,000:
|ZIP code||City||State||Total households||Median household income|
|07078||Short Hills||New Jersey||4,186||$250,000+|
|10007||New York||New York||2,940||$250,000+|
|10282||New York||New York||2,499||$250,000+|
|11724||Cold Spring Harbor||New York||959||$250,000+|
|11765||Mill Neck||New York||279||$250,000+|
California and New York have the greatest number of ZIP codes with median household incomes above $250,000. Pennsylvania has three ZIP codes where median household incomes exceed $250,000.
Tied for third place, Massachusetts and Maryland both have two ZIP codes where median household incomes are greater than $250,000.
On the other end of the spectrum are the 20 ZIP codes with the lowest median household incomes. These median household incomes range from $8,618 to $11,775, which are significantly lower than the U.S. median household income of $67,521 for 2020.
Here are the 20 ZIP codes with the lowest median household incomes:
|ZIP code||City||State||Total households||Median household income|
|70082||Pointe a la Hache||Louisiana||158||$11,222|
Most of the ZIP codes with the lowest median household incomes are located in the U.S. South and Midwest, with some outliers in Connecticut, Colorado and New Mexico.
De-industrialization in the U.S. is another theme, with several ZIP codes being in cities that used to be major centers of manufacturing, such as Canton and Youngstown, Ohio, and Erie, Pennsylvania.
Average household income by income level
The Census Bureau classifies incomes by quintiles: lowest fifth, second fifth, middle fifth, fourth fifth and highest fifth.
These fifths cover the lowest 20%, the 20th to 40th percentile, the 40th to 60th percentile, the 60th and 80th percentile and the top 20%, respectively.
This table displays the mean household incomes for each income level:
|Income level||Mean household income, 2016 (in 2021 dollars)||Mean household income, 2021||Change in dollars|
|Lowest fifth (0–20th percentile)||$14,613||$14,859||$246|
|Second fifth (20th–40th percentile)||$38,956||$41,025||$2,069|
|Middle fifth (40th–60th percentile)||$66,781||$70,879||$4,098|
|Fourth fifth (60th–80th percentile)||$107,459||$115,462||$8,003|
|Highest fifth (80th–100th percentile)||$241,546||$269,356||$27,810|
Over five years, incomes of the top 5% have grown substantially, from a mean household income of $423,486 in 2016 to $480,236 in 2021.
At the same time, the average income for the lowest quintile barely grew, from $14,613 in 2016 to $14,859 in 2021. Middle-class incomes, based on the mean income for the middle fifth, only rose by about $4,000 over the same period: from $66,781 in 2016 to $70,879 in 2021.
FAQs about median household income
The median is the middle number in a data set. The average, or mean, is found by adding all the numbers in a set and then dividing the sum by the total number of individual values in a set. The average can be distorted by a few households that earn very high incomes.
This is part of the reason why median household income is typically used when discussing incomes in the U.S.
Based on the latest Census data, approximately 31% of households earn incomes of $100,000 or more.
While almost a third of U.S. households reported incomes of $100,000 or more, those earning $200,000 or more is much lower. The percentage of households earning incomes of $200,000 or more is 8.3%.
The top 1% of households earns approximately $504,420 in income. In terms of individual income, rather than household income, the top 1% earns $357,552.
Bureau of Economic Analysis, SAINC1 Personal Income Summary: Personal Income, Population, Per Capita Personal Income
U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 2017-2021 5-Year
U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 1985 to 2021 Annual Social and Economic Supplements (CPS ASEC). Historical Income Tables: Households
- Table H-8: Median Household Income by State: 1984 to 2020. Accessed 24 February 2022.
- Table H-5. Race and Hispanic Origin of Householder--Households by Median and Mean Income: 1967 to 2020. Accessed 17 March 2022.
- Table H-10. Age of Householder--All Households by Median and Mean Income: 1967 to 2020. Accessed 17 March 2022.
- Table H-3. Mean Income Received by Each Fifth and Top 5 Percent of All Households: 1967 to 2020. Accessed 17 March 2022.