Median Household Income in America

Updated

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The median household income for the United States in 2020 was $67,521, 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 New Mexico had the lowest.



Key findings on median household income in America

The median household income in the U.S. for 2020 is $67,521, down from $68,703 in 2019. When examining median household income by state, the state with the highest median household income is Maryland at $94,384. The state with the lowest median household income is Mississippi at $44,966.

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 is $59,510. The state with the highest individual income is Connecticut, with a per capita personal income of $78,609. The state with the lowest individual income is Mississippi, with a per capita personal income of $42,129.

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, while 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 2020, median household incomes range from $44,966 to $94,384, which is a swing of nearly $50,000.

Note: Washington, D.C., had the second-highest median income at $88,311. However, it’s technically not a state, so it’s not included in the lists below.

The 10 states with the highest median household income

  1. Maryland: $94,384
  2. New Hampshire: $88,235
  3. Massachusetts: $86,725
  4. New Jersey: $85,239
  5. Utah: $83,670
  6. Colorado: $82,611
  7. Virginia: $81,947
  8. Washington: $81,083
  9. Hawaii: $80,729
  10. Rhode Island: $80,012

The 10 states with the lowest median household incomes

  1. Mississippi: $44,966
  2. Arkansas: $50,540
  3. New Mexico: $50,822
  4. Louisiana: $50,935
  5. West Virginia: $51,615
  6. Oklahoma: $52,341
  7. Alabama: $54,393
  8. Tennessee: $54,665
  9. Montana: $56,442
  10. Kentucky: $56,525

Median household income in each state (listed from lowest median household income to highest)

State Median Household Income, 2020
United States $67,521
Mississippi $44,966
Arkansas $50,540
New Mexico $50,822
Louisiana $50,935
West Virginia $51,615
Oklahoma $52,341
Alabama $54,393
Tennessee $54,665
Montana $56,442
Kentucky $56,525
Florida $57,435
Georgia $58,952
South Carolina $60,097
Ohio $60,110
North Carolina $60,266
Nevada $60,956
Missouri $61,901
Maine $63,440
North Dakota $63,657
Michigan $63,829
Wyoming $65,108
Indiana $66,360
Idaho $66,499
Arizona $66,628
Vermont $66,902
Wisconsin $67,094
Texas $68,093
New York $68,304
Iowa $68,469
Delaware $69,132
South Dakota $69,787
Pennsylvania $70,117
Nebraska $72,024
Kansas $72,815
Illinois $73,753
Alaska $74,476
Oregon $76,554
California $77,358
Minnesota $78,461
Connecticut $79,043
Rhode Island $80,012
Hawaii $80,729
Washington $81,083
Virginia $81,947
Colorado $82,611
Utah $83,670
New Jersey $85,239
Massachusetts $86,725
New Hampshire $88,235
District of Columbia $88,311
Maryland $94,384

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 and 2020. 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 2020 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 2020 Inflation Adjusted Dollars
2020 $67,521 $67,521
2019 $68,703 $69,560
2018 $63,179 $65,127
2017 $61,136 $64,557
2016 $59,039 $63,683
2015 $56,516 $61,748
2014 $53,657 $58,725
2013 $53,585 $59,640
2012 $51,017 $57,623
2011 $50,054 $57,732
2010 $49,276 $58,627
2009 $49,777 $60,200
2008 $50,303 $60,624
2007 $50,233 $62,865
2006 $48,201 $62,033
2005 $46,326 $61,553
2004 $44,334 $60,901
2003 $43,318 $61,113
2002 $42,409 $61,190
2001 $42,228 $61,889
2000 $41,990 $63,292

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 $63,292 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 $62,865 in 2007. But with the onset of the Great Recession, median household income plunged, declining for five years straight and bottoming out at $57,623 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 steady march upward, reaching their most recent peak with a median household income of $69,560 in 2019. In 2020, likely due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, median household income declined to $67,521. Overall, in 2020 inflation-adjusted dollars, the median household income in America grew by 6.7%, from $63,292 in 2000 to $67,521 in 2020.

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 $90,359. From here, incomes decline for older Americans, with those ages 55 to 64 having a median household income of $74,270 and those ages 65 and older having a median household income of $46,360.

Median household incomes for six age groups

Age of Householder Median Household Income, 2020
15–24 Years $46,886
25–34 Years $71,566
35–44 Years $85,694
45–54 Years $90,359
55–64 Years $74,270
65+ Years $46,360

In terms of income, householders ages 15 to 24 exceeded those ages 65 years and older by a little over $500. Meanwhile, householders ages 25 to 34 have a median household income that’s only about $2,700 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, 2020
Female $44,220
Male $54,323

Gender

Median Household Income, 2020

Female householder, no spouse present $40,325
Male householder, no spouse present $55,166
Female householder, nonfamily household $33,917
Male householder, nonfamily household $45,114

Across all measures, females have lower median incomes than males. In terms of median earnings for full-time workers, women earn 18.6% less than men.

For family households in which there is no spouse present, females have a median household income that’s 26.9% less than males. And in nonfamily households, females have a median household income that’s 24.8% 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 $45,870 to $94,903.

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, 2020
All Races $67,521
White Alone $71,231
White Alone, Not Hispanic $74,912
Black Alone or in Combination $46,600
Black Alone $45,870
Asian Alone or in Combination $94,718
Asian Alone $94,903
Hispanic (any race) $55,321

Households that reported themselves as “Asian alone” had the highest median household income. Those of “Black alone” had the lowest.

Over the last decade, “Asian alone or in combination” households have experienced the greatest growth in median household income, rising by 25.3% from $75,582 in 2010 (in 2020 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.

Median household income for each region and division of the U.S.

Region Division Median Household Income, 2020
Northeast   $72,698
  New England $77,376
  Middle Atlantic $71,034
Midwest   $62,054
  East North Central $61,548
  West North Central $63,182
South   $59,816
  South Atlantic $62,174
  East South Central $52,254
  West South Central $59,858
West   $72,464
  Mountain $64,565
  Pacific $77,080

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, 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.

All ZIP codes in which the median household income is greater than $250,000

ZIP Code City State Total Households Median Household Income
92145 San Diego California 519 $250,000+
94022 Los Altos California 7,170 $250,000+
94027 Atherton California 2,252 $250,000+
94105 San Francisco California 6,522 $250,000+
94507 Alamo California 4,815 $250,000+
94528 Diablo California 346 $250,000+
94957 Ross California 410 $250,000+
06878 Riverside Connecticut 2,583 $250,000+
40025 Glenview Kentucky 43 $250,000+
21056 Gibson Island Maryland 172 $250,000+
21737 Glenelg Maryland 713 $250,000+
02030 Dover Massachusetts 2,013 $250,000+
02468 Waban Massachusetts 1,886 $250,000+
63073 St. Albans Missouri 148 $250,000+
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+
10501 Amawalk New York 424 $250,000+
10514 Chappaqua New York 4,190 $250,000+
10578 Purdys New York 419 $250,000+
11724 Cold Spring Harbor New York 959 $250,000+
11765 Mill Neck New York 279 $250,000+
15142 Presto Pennsylvania 441 $250,000+
19035 Gladwyne Pennsylvania 1,443 $250,000+
19085 Villanova Pennsylvania 1,852 $250,000+
77010 Houston Texas 598 $250,000+
20129 Paeonian Springs Virginia 183 $250,000+
82925 Cora Wyoming 179 $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.

20 ZIP codes with the lowest median household incomes

ZIP Code City State Total Households Median Household Income
64147 Kansas City Missouri 129 $8,618
40997 Walker Kentucky 132 $9,000
44503 Youngstown Ohio 563 $9,015
50521 Burnside Iowa 46 $9,022
41365 Rogers Kentucky 275 $9,431
82332 Savery Wyoming 40 $10,119
81124 Capulin Colorado 51 $10,272
44702 Canton Ohio 505 $10,514
65282 Santa Fe Missouri 91 $10,670
38781 Winstonville Missouri 87 $10,972
38928 Glendora Mississippi 130 $11,184
70082 Pointe a la Hache Louisiana 158 $11,222
87037 Nageezi New Mexico 267 $11,250
39113 Mayersville Mississippi 160 $11,316
35139 Sayre Alabama 92 $11,429
73425 Countyline Oklahoma 31 $11,484
16501 Erie Pennsylvania 1163 $11,516
53706 Madison Wisconsin 63 $11,635
06702 Waterbury Connecticut 1779 $11,663
35464 Gainesville Alabama 283 $11,775

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.

Mean household incomes for each income level

Income Level Mean Household Income, 2020
Lowest fifth (0–20th percentile) $14,589
Second fifth (20th–40th percentile) $39,479
Middle fifth (40th–60th percentile) $67,846
Fourth fifth (60th–80th percentile) $109,732
Highest fifth (80th–100th percentile) $253,484
Top 5% $446,030

Over the past five years, incomes of the top 5% have grown substantially, from a mean household income of $383,352 in 2015 to $446,030 in 2020.

At the same time, the average income for the lowest quintile barely grew, from $13,610 in 2015 to $14,589 in 2020. Middle-class incomes, based on the mean income for the middle fifth, only rose by about $5,000 over the same period — from $62,093 in 2015 to $67,846 in 2020.

What is 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.

What percentage of households make over $100k?

Based on the latest Census data, approximately 31% of households earn incomes of $100,000 or more.

What percentage of households make more than $200k?

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%.

How much income does the top 1% of households earn?

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.

Sources

Bureau of Economic Analysis, SAINC1 Personal Income Summary: Personal Income, Population, Per Capita Personal Income

U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 2016-2020 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.

About the author: Gaby Lapera is a researcher and writer at Credit Karma and a personal finance expert. She also spends time working on investing and science communication. Gaby graduated with a master's degree in biological anthropolo… Read more.