A Calculator: Income Distribution by Age for 2016 in the United States

November 2nd, 2020 by 

We present 2016 United States data in an income percentile by age calculator for every age from 18-80.  Our data comes from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) survey from the Current Population Survey, just like our last calculator for 2016 overall income percentiles.

This data uses the same methodology: it includes all incomes listed here.  This ASEC was from March 2016, so for comparison purposes you should use full year 2015 incomes when you compare.

For archived years click here: 201320142015.  We also have (2013) net worth by age.

Source and Methodology on the Income Percentile by Age Calculator

IPUMS-CPS  from the University of Minnesota's Population Center collates the data you see in the tool.  Our methodology is covered in this year's income percentile calculator.

Full credit:

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.

Why Do You Present Income Brackets By Age?

One of our goals here at DQYDJ is to cut through the noise in order to present more relevant statistics than you'll get elsewhere.  Averaging (or taking the median) of 320,000,000 people in the United States isn't high quality, specific data.  We fix it by first dicing the population into only workers, then splitting further by age.

Income percentile by age: a stack of coins
Older workers tend to make more than younger workers...

Age is, unarguably, a better comparison for incomes than the generic large bucket you're often presented.  As a contrived example - would you expect the highest recent college graduate earners to touch the highest 48 year old earners?  Of course not - and with the data sliced in this way you don't need to.

Age is also a very good proxy for experience - a 48 year old will, almost without exception, have more experience than a 24 year old.  Quoting the median income of an American earner, likewise, doesn't mean much unless you are that theoretical 'median' American.  With data split in this way, you can compare yourself to your closest demographic - other people your age!

So, if you're a 24 year old recent college grad... stop using the generic rolled up statistics.  Now you can place yourself with your own peer group in the closest way possible: comparing to other 24 year olds.  (Also, thanks for being a reader at a relatively young age!).

It's harder to compare this data to past years' data - so let us know what trends you see in the comments!



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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