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US median income by age

MoneyGeek analyzes the latest government data to break down median income for full-time workers by age range.

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Hand receiving check from business person across table.

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In 2023, the median income for all full-time wage and salary workers in the United States was $58,019, but this number varied significantly based on age. Median income more accurately measures the typical income level for an area than average income. Examining median income is a better way to discern the economic realities of earning, saving, investing and retirement for different age groups in the U.S.

To shed light on these differences, MoneyGeek analyzed data from the Census Bureau's One-Year American Community Survey and Labor Force Statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, providing a detailed median income breakdown by age, state and gender.

Key Findings: Median Income By Age

The median annual income in the U.S. for full-time wage and salary workers was $58,019 in 2023.

  • Median earnings generally increase with age — starting from $31,928 with the 16 to 19 age group, peaking at $65,247 for the 45 to 54 age group — before declining to $56,238 for those 65 and older.
  • Median income grew by approximately 26% between 2018 and 2023. The 16 to 19 age group saw the most significant increase at 37%.
  • Alaska, Hawaii, Washington and Utah had the highest median salaries for those under 25. In the Northeast, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New Hampshire had the highest median salaries for those aged 25 to 64.
  • The wage gap between men and women is widest for the 55 to 64 age group at $16,276 and is narrowest at $3,068 for the 20 to 24 age group.

Annual Median Income by Age

A closer look at median salary data reveals a general increase in earnings as individuals age, with the highest median salary of $65,247 observed in the 45 to 54 age group. The most substantial median salary growth takes place between the 20 to 24 ($38,194) and 25 to 34 ($54,340) age brackets. Earnings peak in the 55 to 64 age group ($63,310) and then decline for those aged 65 years and older ($56,238).

Five-Year Income Growth Trends

Chart showing annual median earnings by age

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Incomes have risen for all age groups from 2018 to 2023, but the most substantial increase has been for those aged 16 to 19, with a 37% boost in annual earnings. The growth rates for ages 20 to 44 are within the same range, ranging from 27% to 30% over the same period. The growth rate begins to decline for older age groups, with a 25% increase for ages 45 to 54, 22% for ages 55 to 64, and the lowest at 16% for those aged 65 and over.

Gender Wage Gap by Age Group

Table showing five-year income growth trends

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The median income wage gap between men and women varies across age groups, with 16- to 19-year-old men earning $3,302 more per year than women in the same age group. This gap narrows slightly for the 20 to 24 age group, with a difference of $3,068, but then dramatically increases to $6,422 for those aged 25 to 34. The wage gap is greatest at $16,276 for the 55 to 64 age group. The gap begins to decrease as individuals approach retirement, with a difference of $10,712 for those aged 65 and over.

Median Household Income by Age and State

Table showing gender wage gap across different age groups

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The Western region of the U.S. has the highest median annual salaries for those under 25, with Alaska leading at $60,279, followed by Hawaii at $55,320, Washington at $54,660 and Utah at $54,506. In the Northeast, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New Hampshire stand out for their high median salaries among those aged 25 to 64. Each of these Northeastern states has an annual median income of over $101,000 for those aged 25 to 44, while the 45 to 64 age group sees median incomes exceeding $114,000. Hawaii, Maryland and Alaska are the best states for earners 65 and over, with annual median incomes above $66,000.

FAQ About Median Income by Age

MoneyGeek addresses the most frequently asked questions about median income by age in the U.S., shedding light on income differences among age groups.

What are the median earnings in the U.S. by age group?

Median annual earnings for individuals in the U.S. are $31,928 for 16- to 19-year-olds; $38,194 for 20- to 24-year-olds; $54,340 for 25- to 34-year-olds; $65,234 for 35- to 44-year-olds; $65,247 for 45- to 54-year-olds; $63,310 for 55- to 64-year-olds; and $56,238 for those 65 and older.

How much does the average 16- to 24-year-old make in the U.S.?

According to median income statistics, the average 16- to 19-year-old in the U.S. makes $614 weekly or $31,928 annually.

Which age group has the highest income?

The age group with the highest median income is 45 to 54. Their median weekly earnings are $1,255, and their annual earnings are $65,247.

Related Content

The resources listed below offer valuable information on income by state and region, along with tools for saving and preparing for retirement.

  • Median Income by State: Discover how median income varies by state and age. This resource offers a comprehensive analysis to help you understand the broader economic landscape.
  • Average American Savings Balance: Learn about the average savings balances of Americans. This insight can help you gauge where you stand and how you can plan your savings strategy.
  • Average Credit Score by Age: Understanding your credit score helps you evaluate your financial health. Explore how average credit scores change with age and what it means for your financial planning.
  • Average Retirement Savings by Age: Get a clear picture of how much people save for retirement at different ages. This can help you assess your own retirement planning and make necessary adjustments.
  • Saving for Retirement: Dive into strategies for saving for retirement. This guide provides valuable advice on how to effectively save for your future, regardless of your current age or income.

 

This story was produced by MoneyGeek and reviewed and distributed by Stacker Media.