Average, Median, Top 1%, and Income Percentile by City in 2020

December 29th, 2021 by 

Below you'll find average income by city and median income by city for the United States in 2020. Find household and individual gross (pre-tax) income, and the 25%, 75%, and 90% income percentile per city as well.

Also, try the income percentile by city calculator below to compare household or individual income and find income brackets. Optionally, add multiple metro areas to visualize the income disparity between cities.

(For a selection of cities, you'll also find the top 1% income for households and workers. Please see the discussion on data quality in the methodology section below.)

Individual Income Percentile by City Statistics

Here are tables with summary statistics for individual income by city. Income is pre-tax, earned between January and December 2019.

You'll find average income by city, median income by city, population, number of workers, and some selected income brackets. Some cities have top 1% individual income by city data.

Use the filters up top to select a city, or add or remove columns in the table.

Household Income Percentile by City Statistics

Here are summary statistics for household income by city. All values listed are gross, pre-tax income earned between January and December 2019.

You'll find average income, median income, and some selected income brackets for each metro area in the United states. We also have population, and number of households conveniently listed in a column. Some cities have top 1% household income by city data.

Income Percentile by City Calculator

This household and individual income by city percentile calculator lets you see how an income stacks up in the income bracket per city. You can select any metro to compare against another to visualize income disparity between metros.

Note that some cities have sufficient data to show all income percentiles, while others only show deciles.

Using the Income Percentile by City Calculator

There are a few quirks to consider as you look at the data in the calculator. Note these steps carefully:

  1. First, choose to compare individual income or income earned by a household.
  2. Next, pick the closest city or metro area (you can also search on state abbreviation)
  3. Optionally, add any other metro areas to the comparison area by clicking and typing
  4. Finally, read below for notes about the data quality (especially smaller ones)

Income Percentile by City Tool Input Options

Here are the fine details on the metro area calculator:

  • Income: Gross, pre-tax income earned either by one individual or a household – depending on your choice. Income is from any source on this list.
  • Individual or Household: Choose whether you want to compare an individual income or household income, to match the income you input.
  • City: The metro area where you would like to compare an income.
  • Compare Cities: Optionally, add other metro areas to the comparison to see how an income would compare with the percentiles there.

Warning: A city marked with ˟ lacks the data to show you income percentiles. Even then, the larger metros still are dubious, especially in the top few percentiles. In the table above, you can show the sample size per city and get an idea how much to trust the data.

Income Percentile by City Tool Output

There are two primary outputs:

  • The visualization of income distribution in your selected city (including any others you add)
  • An estimated income percentile – or decile, for smaller metros
Income Percentile by City Estimation

If you choose a primary city, income, and income type, DQYDJ will estimate the exact percentile – or decile – for income. For cities with sufficient data, that will be to the nearest 1%. Sparse data means some cities will only be to the closest 10%.

Income Percentile by City Visualization

When you first enter the page, edit the comparison cities, or run a new percentile estimation the tool will output an income distribution graph. The income distribution will show percentiles from 1% - 99% in income (or deciles from 10% - 90% if any low-data metro is included.)

If you hover over the graph you'll see the exact dollar break-point for a percentile.

Source and Methodology on the 2020 Income Percentile by City Calculator

Our source for the income percentile by city calculator was IPUMS-CPS:

Sarah Flood, Miriam King, Renae Rodgers, Steven Ruggles and J. Robert Warren. Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, Current Population Survey: Version 8.0 [dataset]. Minneapolis, MN: IPUMS, 2020. https://doi.org/10.18128/D030.V8.0

For methodology on incomes and a definition of "worker" or individual, see the source articles:

Here is the additional data for cities:

We required a minimum of 225 households and 300 individuals to show full percentile data in the tool and tables. But please, note there is uncertainty, especially around the top few percent. From the Census Bureau:

"One set of estimates that can be produced from CPS microdata files should be treated with caution. These are estimates for individual metropolitan areas. Although estimates for the larger areas such as New York, Los Angeles, and so forth, should be fairly accurate and valid for a multitude of uses, estimates for the smaller metropolitan areas (those with populations under 500,000) should be used with caution because of the relatively large sampling variability associated with these estimates."

Past results:

Final Disclaimer: This data is "business intelligence" only. Don't make major life decisions based upon the tool – if you see something intriguing, pull the data yourself and apply your own error estimates and padding.

Have fun!



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 is in his mid-30s and lives in New Hampshire with his wife, kids, and dog.

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