# Average, Median, Top 1%, and all United States Household Income Percentiles in 2020

September 30th, 2021 by
PK

On this page are estimated United States household income brackets for 2020. See average, median, and top 1% household income in the United States. Also: see every percentile, plus a year over year comparison with last year.

We also have research on individual incomes and incomes by age.

## Household Income Benchmarks in 2020

The most important – or, at least, most closely watched – income statistics are:

• Median household income
• Average household income
• Top 1% household income

Of these, median household income is the most important statistic. Medians are more resistant to outliers and better represent a "typical" household. Average income is influenced by very high earners, although it is also a decent estimate.

Median means the midpoint of household income: half of US households made more and half less.

The numbers in this section are nominal – they are not adjusted for inflation.

### What was the median household income?

In 2020, $68,400.00 was the median household income in the United States. This is up from$63,030.00 in 2019.

### What was the average household income?

The average household income was $97,973.61 in 2020. It was$89,930.70 in 2019.

### What is the top 1% household income?

To be top 1% in 2020, a household needed to earn $531,020.00.$475,116.00 was the threshold last year.

## Selected United States Household Income Percentiles for 2020 and 2019

The 2019 data is adjusted for CPI as detailed by IPUMS CPS. To do the math on your own, multiply 2019 dollar amounts by (.663/.652).

Household income is defined as all income earned in the household:

## Household Income Percentiles for the United States in 2020

While the summary statistics are nice, there's no replacement for a more complete view of the US income distribution! Below is every household income percentile in 2020.

To read the chart: a dollar amount is the "threshold" between brackets – more goes in the higher percentile, less in the lower. This data is adjusted for CPI-measured inflation.

### What is considered middle class income?

In 2020, middle class encompasses household income from $34,200 to$136,800. This measure of middle class is from half of median household income to 2x median household income.

Of course, a lot boils down to your location. Check out these geographic income calculators:

## Methodology on 2020 United States Household Income Brackets

Data originated in the United States Census Bureau's Annual ASEC survey, first released in September 2020. The University of Minnesota's Minnesota Population Center harmonizes it, making it easy to do these calculations – especially for the household income by year post.

Sarah Flood, Miriam King, Renae Rodgers, Steven Ruggles and J. Robert Warren. Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, Current Population Survey: Version 7.0 [dataset]. Minneapolis, MN: IPUMS, 2020. https://doi.org/10.18128/D030.V7.0

### How many samples are in the 2019 and 2020 data?

• 2020: 60,460 data points representing around 128,588,200 households.
• 2019: 68,345 data-points representing an estimated 128,674,487 American households.

### Is household income gross or net?

The household income data in this post is before-tax, or gross income.

### Can you compare this household income data year over year?

No, not directly. This data is not longitudinal. And moreover, household formation means many households have more than one earner, which can bias estimated further.

While you can use year over year comparisons to find good paths to research, it doesn't necessarily prove how certain households perform. Individual households can form and dissolve, and households may be in different brackets year to year.

## Analysis of Household Income in 2020

To start, if you'd rather see the data in interactive form we built a household income percentile calculator. In this initial analysis of the 2019 United States household income data, a few things stuck out.

### Household Income Round Number Thresholds

This year's results blew last years off the map. We saw around 2,000,000 more workers in 2020, across roughly the same number of households. Impressively, every single household income percentile threshold increased – across the board.

While (as I warned above) you can't use that to talk about individual household performance, it was a very good result.

Unfortunately, these numbers are pre-Coronavirus pandemic. They were gathered in March 2020 for money earned between January and December 2019. We'll see how COVID-19 affects the numbers in the 2021 edition.

### PK

PK started DQYDJ in 2009 to research and discuss finance and investing and help answer financial questions. He's expanded DQYDJ to build visualizations, calculators, and interactive tools.

PK lives in New Hampshire with his wife, kids, and dog.

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