Income Percentile Calculator for 2015 US Data

November 2nd, 2020 by 

This article contains an income percentile calculator which will calculate 2015 income percentiles for the United States, based on all individual earners.  It originates from the Current Population Survey in March, so data for comparison would be earned between January 2014 and December 2014 - as in, all income, salaries, dividends, interest, and other payments earned in all of 2014.  The data is all compiled by the University of Minnesota’s IPUMS-CPS project - and here at DQYDJ we just run a few calculations and populate this nice calculator for you to run all of your what-ifs!

We also have calculators which break income down by age: 2013 Income by Age2014 Income by Age2015 Income By Age.  (Net worth by age is from 2013 survey data, and found here.)

Notes: The tool has a logarithmic scale by default, but you can turn it off with the included checkbox.

Source on the Income Percentile Calculator for 2015

CPS microdata is from the University of Minnesota’s Minnesota Population Center’s IPUMS-CPS site.

Miriam King, Steven Ruggles, J. Trent Alexander, Sarah Flood, Katie Genadek, Matthew B. Schroeder, Brandon Trampe, and Rebecca Vick. Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, Current Population Survey: Version 3.0. [Machine-readable database]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2010.

Is This Tool Accurate?

As always, and as we have noted in the past: accuracy is limited both by the number of data points and topcoding at the top end of the CPS data set.  That means someone on a billionaires list maintained by a media company would not be in the data points (if, say, a person on the list was interviewed) - they would be too easy to identify from the microdata.

The data isn’t directly comparable to research like Emmanuel Saez’s research (we’re using individual incomes, not tax returns or households), but his numbers suggest that our data is in the right ballpark.  Households can often have 2+ earners, and have internal disparity – consider the scenario where a college student, mom and dad are all in the workforce.  That means you may not like my breakdown: you should recreate the set using your own assumptions if you don't like the breakdown.

We hope you enjoy this income percentile calculator, caveats aside - let use know if you see anything interesting in the data!



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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