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Household Income by Year: Average, Median, One Percent (and a Percentile Calculator)

Written by:
PK

On this page is the United States average household income by year and median household income by year between 1968 and 2020. You'll also find the top 1% household income by year between 1996 and 2020, plus the top 5% and 10% for the full range.

I've also included a household income by year calculator for you to compare household income centile rank for each year in the set.

Afterwards, see this year's snapshot in the United States average income, median income, and income percentile post.

Household Income Percentile by Year Calculator

Note: incomes are earned in the calendar year before the survey. See the methodology below for notes about inflation adjustments. See here for individual income by year.

Household Income Percentile Statistics from 1968-2020

Below I've included summary statistics of average income by year and median income by year in the United States. Also, I've done the math for top 10%, top 5%, and top 1% incomes.

The top 1% is a bit hazy because of top-coding (see notes), but the other data should be useful in comparisons. Enjoy!

1968-2020 Inflation Adjusted Household Income
1968-2020 Non-Inflation Adjusted Household Income

Median Household Income by Year

This table shows the median household income per year in the United States, including both inflation-adjusted and nominal amounts.

YearMedian Household IncomeInflation Adjusted (2020)
1968$7,005.00$53,763.38
1969$7,683.00$56,427.78
1970$8,330.00$58,120.68
1971$8,700.00$57,315.45
1972$9,000.00$56,851.85
1973$9,648.00$59,002.71
1974$10,378.00$59,663.78
1975$11,000.00$57,043.92
1976$11,700.00$55,602.17
1977$12,604.00$56,570.58
1978$13,500.00$56,929.95
1979$15,000.00$58,887.47
1980$16,400.00$57,738.53
1981$17,666.00$54,782.44
1982$19,000.00$53,415.75
1983$20,000.00$53,022.45
1984$20,687.00$53,101.25
1985$22,260.00$54,758.17
1986$23,530.00$55,911.07
1987$24,744.00$57,723.47
1988$25,900.00$58,293.99
1989$27,050.00$58,481.34
1990$28,838.00$59,497.76
1991$29,834.00$58,337.82
1992$30,000.00$56,295.84
1993$30,439.00$55,491.53
1994$31,000.00$54,884.66
1995$32,140.00$55,432.47
1996$34,000.00$57,038.25
1997$35,172.00$57,313.18
1998$36,928.00$58,862.39
1999$38,816.00$60,922.86
2000$40,551.00$62,245.79
2001$42,000.00$62,350.10
2002$42,125.00$60,829.61
2003$42,381.00$60,235.96
2004$43,160.00$60,009.60
2005$44,097.00$59,690.38
2006$46,001.00$60,248.75
2007$48,020.00$60,917.93
2008$50,000.00$61,646.59
2009$50,000.00$59,404.02
2010$49,578.00$59,131.49
2011$49,100.00$57,577.16
2012$50,000.00$56,851.85
2013$50,306.00$56,078.22
2014$53,568.00$58,775.47
2015$53,600.00$57,940.85
2016$56,025.00$60,138.72
2017$58,849.00$62,731.40
2018$60,810.00$63,455.71
2019$63,030.00$64,201.09
2020$68,400.00$68,400.00

Average Household Income by Year

In this table is the average household income per year in the United States, including both an inflation adjusted and a nominal number.

Note: due to the aggressive top-coding for 1995 and earlier, the average will be a tiny bit low (read: the amount that the top-coded samples would move it). See the methodology for more.

YearAverage IncomeInflation Adjusted (2020)
1968$7,961.16$61,101.90
1969$8,672.23$63,693.17
1970$9,459.61$66,002.28
1971$9,918.02$65,339.75
1972$10,282.91$64,955.83
1973$11,140.47$68,129.97
1974$12,014.65$69,072.99
1975$12,727.25$66,001.11
1976$13,619.13$64,722.49
1977$14,732.62$66,124.48
1978$15,878.16$66,958.72
1979$17,441.07$68,470.70
1980$19,251.19$67,776.55
1981$20,675.71$64,115.59
1982$22,613.53$63,574.67
1983$24,078.48$63,835.00
1984$25,148.08$64,552.35
1985$27,388.00$67,372.72
1986$28,742.39$68,296.55
1987$30,314.22$70,717.82
1988$31,884.25$71,762.94
1989$33,391.86$72,192.26
1990$35,639.68$73,530.79
1991$36,574.70$71,518.68
1992$37,194.25$69,796.06
1993$38,109.36$69,474.90
1994$39,291.55$69,564.62
1995$40,846.25$70,448.31
1996$44,919.39$75,356.57
1997$47,110.04$76,766.36
1998$49,681.03$79,190.43
1999$51,813.34$81,322.57
2000$53,797.32$82,578.89
2001$57,113.14$84,785.95
2002$58,174.23$84,005.12
2003$57,818.75$82,177.58
2004$59,045.40$82,096.64
2005$60,431.76$81,801.37
2006$63,302.78$82,909.36
2007$66,531.06$84,400.97
2008$67,620.33$83,371.25
2009$68,409.08$81,275.49
2010$67,866.88$80,944.57
2011$67,366.27$78,997.12
2012$69,662.64$79,209.00
2013$71,201.40$79,371.20
2014$75,310.81$82,631.95
2015$75,664.72$81,792.50
2016$79,120.51$84,930.06
2017$82,957.25$88,430.12
2018$86,212.33$89,963.24
2019$89,930.70$91,601.61
2020$97,973.61$97,973.61

Top 10% Household Income by Year

This table includes top 10% household income by year in the US. As in all these calculations, I've included both non inflation-adjusted and inflation-adjusted numbers.

YearTop 10% Household IncomeInflation Adjusted (2020)
1968$14,920.00$114,511.00
1969$16,000.00$117,511.96
1970$17,636.00$123,051.18
1971$18,680.00$123,063.52
1972$19,500.00$123,179.01
1973$21,202.00$129,661.63
1974$23,000.00$132,228.46
1975$24,500.00$127,052.36
1976$26,050.00$123,797.99
1977$28,250.00$126,794.59
1978$30,600.00$129,041.21
1979$33,978.00$133,391.89
1980$37,645.00$132,534.58
1981$40,900.00$126,831.31
1982$44,784.00$125,903.74
1983$48,000.00$127,253.89
1984$50,200.00$128,857.86
1985$54,328.00$133,643.40
1986$57,052.00$135,564.74
1987$60,270.00$140,599.47
1988$63,726.00$143,430.22
1989$66,920.00$144,679.15
1990$71,846.00$148,230.66
1991$74,000.00$144,700.64
1992$75,766.00$142,177.03
1993$77,971.00$142,144.28
1994$81,670.00$144,594.52
1995$84,808.00$146,269.98
1996$88,250.00$148,047.81
1997$92,374.00$150,524.51
1998$98,262.00$156,627.38
1999$102,010.00$160,107.72
2000$108,487.00$166,527.55
2001$112,410.00$166,875.58
2002$114,504.00$165,346.79
2003$114,626.00$162,917.51
2004$118,662.00$164,987.47
2005$121,012.00$163,803.72
2006$126,838.00$166,123.15
2007$133,726.00$169,644.14
2008$136,435.00$168,215.04
2009$138,774.00$164,874.68
2010$137,912.00$164,487.12
2011$138,921.00$162,905.83
2012$143,489.00$163,152.31
2013$146,000.00$162,752.36
2014$155,426.00$170,535.32
2015$157,494.00$170,248.80
2016$161,915.00$173,803.86
2017$170,432.00$181,675.78
2018$179,077.00$186,868.25
2019$184,200.00$187,622.43
2020$200,968.00$200,968.00

Top 5% Household Income by Year

Below I've listed the estimated top 5% household incomes per year in the United States. You'll find both inflation adjusted and nominal numbers.

YearTop 5% Household IncomeInflation Adjusted (2020)
1968$18,200.00$139,685.00
1969$19,850.00$145,788.28
1970$21,762.00$151,839.41
1971$23,195.00$152,808.26
1972$24,138.00$152,476.67
1973$26,560.00$162,428.69
1974$28,510.00$163,905.81
1975$30,280.00$157,026.35
1976$32,100.00$152,549.54
1977$34,930.00$156,776.46
1978$38,000.00$160,247.25
1979$42,028.00$164,994.83
1980$47,000.00$165,470.18
1981$50,300.00$155,980.81
1982$55,196.00$155,175.57
1983$60,000.00$159,067.36
1984$62,800.00$161,200.67
1985$68,416.00$168,298.97
1986$72,000.00$171,083.59
1987$77,002.00$179,632.33
1988$80,814.00$181,890.75
1989$85,540.00$184,935.07
1990$91,713.00$189,219.70
1991$94,578.00$184,939.15
1992$96,299.00$180,707.78
1993$99,200.00$180,845.61
1994$102,734.00$181,887.76
1995$106,501.00$183,684.31
1996$113,940.00$191,145.25
1997$119,825.00$195,256.24
1998$127,590.00$203,375.55
1999$132,826.00$208,474.35
2000$142,986.00$219,483.51
2001$146,764.00$217,874.99
2002$151,354.00$218,559.16
2003$150,416.00$213,785.70
2004$154,846.00$215,297.65
2005$157,186.00$212,769.41
2006$166,000.00$217,414.68
2007$174,020.00$220,760.91
2008$176,993.00$218,220.29
2009$180,000.00$213,854.49
2010$180,000.00$214,685.31
2011$180,620.00$211,804.20
2012$186,256.00$211,779.97
2013$191,111.00$213,039.50
2014$205,590.00$225,575.88
2015$206,814.00$223,563.02
2016$214,125.00$229,847.47
2017$225,196.00$240,052.68
2018$237,034.00$247,346.83
2019$248,304.00$252,917.48
2020$270,358.00$270,358.00

Top 1% Household Income by Year

Below are top 1% household incomes per year in the United States. I've included both nominal and inflation adjusted numbers. (Especially for the top 1% see the note on inflation).

See the note in the FAQ below regarding 1995 and earlier data.

YearTop 1% IncomeInflation Adjusted (2020)
1996$262,042.00$439,600.51
1997$319,982.00$521,414.41
1998$331,103.00$527,770.62
1999$315,815.00$495,681.01
2000$257,449.00$395,184.22
2001$348,370.00$517,164.36
2002$347,788.00$502,215.03
2003$390,823.00$555,475.28
2004$367,590.00$511,096.60
2005$413,751.00$560,059.78
2006$424,189.00$555,571.77
2007$441,128.00$559,612.79
2008$422,076.00$520,390.89
2009$407,778.00$484,473.09
2010$417,011.00$497,367.43
2011$324,016.00$379,957.65
2012$351,167.00$399,289.89
2013$354,400.00$395,064.63
2014$375,003.00$411,457.90
2015$372,719.00$402,903.99
2016$400,034.00$429,407.13
2017$430,600.00$459,007.64
2018$435,986.00$454,954.80
2019$475,116.00$483,943.64
2020$531,020.00$531,020.00

Other Household Income by Year Questions

Why are the top percentiles not included for 1995 and earlier data?

The Census Bureau changed its top coding procedure for the 1996 survey.

It's possible to estimate the top 1% for earlier dates with this survey, but it's a bit of work to reconstruct top ASEC household income. Let me know your thoughts on estimating and I might eventually look.

Arbitrarily, I chose the 95th percentile as the top percentile for these years. In theory, every percentile can be colored by the top coding, since different forms of income have different top codes. However, in practice, top codes happen more – and move the needle more – at the top.

What other calculators do you have?

Want even more calculators and interactive tools?

See our individual income calculator and research. Also, see our net worth calculator and net worth by age calculator.

Or, surf our calculator page.

Source and Methodology on the Household Income by Year Data

Sarah Flood, Miriam King, Renae Rodgers, Steven Ruggles and J. Robert Warren. Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, Current Population Survey: Version 6.0 [dataset]. Minneapolis, MN: IPUMS, 1968-2020 https://doi.org/10.18128/D030.V6.0

See the household income bracket article for details on methodology. You can also alternatively reproduce these numbers through Berkeley's SDA.

Be sure to understand the effects of top coding in 1995 and earlier years (see the above question and links) – the SDA will show results, but you need to understand the circumstances.

Note: there is a slight difference in the YoY calculations from 2018. I pulled the numbers new for this post, so I would trust these (2018 and earlier) numbers first.

Notes on Data Quality

Here is a summary of the number of data points in the income set by year, along with the estimated number of households after weighting.

Data points for a household include just the householder – if you don't filter for duplicates, you'll get the wrong numbers. On Berkeley's SDA you can use the filter PERNUM(1) to do this. (For stats packages you're on your own).

YearNumber of HouseholdsData Points
1968                  60,444,691                            46,528
1969                  61,799,969                            47,506
1970                  62,847,603                            45,424
1971                  64,226,502                            46,432
1972                  66,669,452                            45,408
1973                  68,244,948                            44,895
1974                  69,849,077                            44,846
1975                  71,092,335                            44,153
1976                  73,190,096                            46,368
1977                  74,518,729                            55,540
1978                  76,351,711                            54,762
1979                  77,688,809                            54,941
1980                  79,399,013                            65,238
1981                  82,631,807                            65,731
1982                  83,793,123                            59,276
1983                  84,267,758                            59,211
1984                  85,809,226                            59,171
1985                  87,183,536                            59,799
1986                  88,811,402                            58,935
1987                  89,864,336                            58,279
1988                  91,434,838                            58,975
1989                  93,098,368                            55,335
1990                  93,626,399                            59,941
1991                  94,618,143                            59,929
1992                  95,979,021                            59,219
1993                  96,602,452                            58,970
1994                  97,262,728                            57,079
1995                  99,087,651                            56,941
1996                  99,683,966                            49,682
1997                101,083,771                            50,311
1998                102,584,218                            50,353
1999                103,992,289                            50,785
2000                104,781,947                            51,016
2001                108,289,767                            78,054
2002                109,388,768                            78,265
2003                111,381,703                            78,310
2004                112,116,531                            77,149
2005                113,475,724                            76,447
2006                114,510,050                            75,939
2007                116,131,345                            75,477
2008                116,880,816                            75,872
2009                117,260,875                            76,185
2010                118,516,367                            76,260
2011                119,994,385                            75,188
2012                121,165,766                            74,383
2013                122,549,414                            74,821
2014*                124,025,589                            22,672
2015                124,727,293                            74,257
2016                126,067,560                            69,484
2017                126,519,332                            69,957
2018                127,679,092                            67,909
2019                128,674,487                            68,345
2020                128,588,200                            60,460

*2014 was a special year for the ASEC. The Census Bureau tweaked their income questionnaire [PDF] (and also changed the health insurance questions). The data in this post uses the 3/8 sample, which makes 2014 comparable to 2015 and beyond in methodology.

A big difference? It depends on your use case.

It's close enough for a quick comparison.

Inflation vs. Household Income by Year

IPUMS provides simple to use charts to adjust survey numbers for CPI. That part is mostly non-controversial.

Of course, inflation is a complicated topic. Opinions on which methodology to pick, who the 'average' amount applies to, and how inflation applies across income brackets varies.

So, take the inflation estimates with a grain of salt. The bottom line is they are a reasonable adjustment for inflation over time. But – the further back you go, the fuzzier it gets...

Conclusions on Income Percentile by Year

The top-coding and methodology changes in the 1990s muddy the waters a bit, but this is a great way to compare the middle quantiles, especially.

Before you source this data, I want to stress how careful you need to be with these comparisons.

First, the data isn't longitudinal – you aren't seeing anything about an individual household's earnings. Some of the lowest-earning households in the 70s could be the highest in the 2010s.

Second, there are more than twice as many households in later years than earlier (seriously – check the chart above).

So yes, income has increased across the board AND the absolute number of households earning an income has increased too. Plus, households are getting smaller as people have fewer children – aggregating income statistics is hiding a lot about demographics. See our income percentile by age series for one exploded view.

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