2021 Income by Education: Average, Top One Percent, Median, and Percentiles

November 14th, 2022 by 

Below, find United States average individual income by education and median individual income by education in 2021. Per tradition, also find the top 1% and individual income percentiles by education in the attached percentile calculator.

Find the statistics for people with education attainment:

  • Grades 1, 2, 3, or 4
  • Grades 5 or 6
  • Grades 7 or 8
  • Grade 9
  • Grade 10
  • Grade 11
  • 12th grade, no diploma
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Some college but no degree
  • Associate's degree, occupational/vocational program
  • Associate's degree, academic program
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Master's degree
  • Professional school degree
  • Doctorate degree

Average and Median Income by Education

Overall in 2021, the median individual income for a worker in the United States was $42,225. The average income was $63,214.03. See our individual income research for details.

The next chart shows the median and average income broken down by educational attainment:

For every educational achievement category*, here is the average, median, and top 1% percentile income:

AttainmentAverage IncomeMedian IncomeTop 1% Income
Grades 1, 2, 3, or 4$29,992.45$24,000.00$94,875.00
Grades 5 or 6$26,973.36$25,000.00$101,100.00
Grades 7 or 8$34,593.72$25,000.00$160,000.00
Grade 9$23,571.69$19,303.00$130,001.00
Grade 10$20,357.85$11,020.00$120,005.00
Grade 11$19,357.57$10,001.00$100,000.00
12th grade, no diploma$27,055.11$20,028.00$120,000.00
High school diploma or equivalent$42,393.66$32,500.00$190,025.00
Some college but no degree$45,915.87$35,000.00$212,003.00
Associate's degree, occupational/vocational program$55,160.19$45,000.00$219,000.00
Associate's degree, academic program$53,176.14$43,103.00$212,425.00
Bachelor's degree$82,228.55$60,585.00$400,591.00
Master's degree$103,876.12$77,702.00$508,050.00
Professional school degree$162,268.29$120,500.00$780,000.00
Doctorate degree$152,539.55$114,752.00$993,510.00

*Read these as "highest educational achievement". For example, "Doctorate Degree" means graduated with a degree, not only pursued.

Income by Education Visualization, Comparison, and Income Percentile Calculator

Here is a calculator for plotting income percentile by education. It includes every income percentile for each group. Enter an income plus educational attainment to see where that income would rank.

Additionally, use the chart to overlay multiple educational groups. Then you can compare attainment cohorts for every percentile.

Income Percentile by Education Methodology

This data uses 2021 IPUMS-CPS data to calculate incomes versus educational attainment. See the income percentile calculator for methodology around the worker screen – I've only included people who were in (or close to) the workforce in full-year 2020. Also, find the deeper explanation of education attainment here.

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:/Sarah Flood, Miriam King, Renae Rodgers, Steven Ruggles, J. Robert Warren and Michael Westberry. Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, Current Population Survey: Version 9.0 [dataset]. Minneapolis, MN: IPUMS, 2021. https://doi.org/10.18128/D030.V9.0

Workforce Size by Educational Achievement

This next table shows the number of samples we used to make the estimates, and the number of "workers" that maps to in the screen. You can use this information to decide just how much you trust the estimates – if at all!

Educational AttainmentEstimated WorkersSamples
Grades 1, 2, 3, or 4                666,565                373
Grades 5 or 6             1,574,073                820
Grades 7 or 8             1,594,015                811
Grade 9             1,968,957             1,075
Grade 10             2,613,053             1,474
Grade 11             3,686,956             1,992
12th grade, no diploma             2,081,725             1,029
High school diploma or equivalent           44,726,055           22,136
Some college but no degree           28,981,582           13,892
Associate's degree, occupational/vocational program             7,550,820             3,908
Associate's degree, academic program           10,787,805             5,266
Bachelor's degree           43,147,837           20,056
Master's degree           18,359,788             8,763
Professional school degree             2,682,436             1,340
Doctorate degree             3,706,373             1,870

See past editions:



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.

Don't Quit Your Day Job...

DQYDJ may be compensated by our partners if you make purchases through links. See our disclosures page. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
Sign Up For Emails
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram