What "Percent" Is Your Household?

In the worldwide effort to call forth the one percent of Americans who hold a disproportionate amount of our country’s wealth, the 99 percent stay united in a single group. But, if you are hard working college grad with a steady gig, especially if you’re in a dual-income household, you might be in the top 10 percent, at least, according the 2010 U.S. census data.

Monopoly Man 

(Photo Credit: ToGa Wanderings/Flickr)

Percent by Household

The U.S. Census Bureau's page on annual U.S. household incomes breaks down annual household earnings into $4,999 increments, from "Under $5,000" to "$250,000 and over." While the data does not highlight the infamous one percent, who may be making $250,000 or more a week, it does shine some light on bottom 98 percent and where people stand in it.

To create percentages using U.S. census data, we took the number of households earning a certain amount, such as $70,000 to $74,999, divided that number by the entire group of households, multiplied that number by 100 to get a percentage and then subtracted that percentage from 100. This gave us the percentage of people earning more than each group of earners.

For example, those households with $5,000 or less in income per year earn less than approximately 96.5 percent of people in the country. They are the 96.5 percent. Meanwhile, households bringing in $185,000 to $189,999 have only about 4.4 percent of other households earning more than them. They are sitting, according to our calculations, in the top 5 percent. See our table below. (All numbers circa 2011-12.)


Annual Household Income

% of Americans Earning More

 Under $5,000


 $5,000 to $9,999


 $10,000 to $14,999


 $15,000 to $19,999


 $20,000 to $24,999


 $25,000 to $29,999


 $30,000 to $34,999


 $35,000 to $39,999


 $40,000 to $44,999


 $45,000 to $49,999


 $50,000 to $54,999


 $55,000 to $59,999


 $60,000 to $64,999


 $65,000 to $69,999


 $70,000 to $74,999


 $75,000 to $79,999


 $80,000 to $84,999


 $85,000 to $89,999


 $90,000 to $94,999


 $95,000 to $99,999


 $100,000 to $104,999


 $105,000 to $109,999


 $110,000 to $114,999


 $115,000 to $119,999


 $120,000 to $124,999


 $125,000 to $129,999


 $130,000 to $134,999


 $135,000 to $139,999


 $140,000 to $144,999


 $145,000 to $149,999


 $150,000 to $154,999


 $155,000 to $159,999


 $160,000 to $164,999


 $165,000 to $169,999


 $170,000 to $174,999


 $175,000 to $179,999


 $180,000 to $184,999


 $185,000 to $189,999


 $190,000 to $194,999


 $195,000 to $199,999


 $200,000 to $249,999


 $250,000 and over



* The 0.00% for those over $250,000 may seem confusing but it just means that, since this chart stops at $250,000 per year, there is no one listed above that number to compare to.

Where Does Your Household Rank?

Are you curious where you land in the rankings? According to our calculations, nearly half of U.S. households, 49.6 percent, bring in a total of $45,000 to $49,499 per year or less. This correlates with a recent Atlantic story that reported that 50 percent of all Americans earned less than $26,000 in 2010. If the typical dual-income household includes two people making between $20,000 and $25,000 per year, their combined income would add up to about $45,000 to $49,499 for their household. Sounds right.

The following is a list of earnings brackets, common jobs for each of them and the median annual incomes for those jobs, according to PayScale.com. There are examples of jobs for single-income or dual-income households. (All numbers circa 2011-12.)

80.16% - $15,000 to $19,999

Retail Sales Associate - $8.25 per hour plus bonus, approx. $17,160 per year

63.46% - $30,000 to $34,999

Administrative Assistant – $33,936

41.76% - $55,000 to $59,999

Tow Truck Driver - $20,486 and

Elementary School Teacher - $39,050

29.22% - $75,000 to $79,999

Lawyer - $75,722

4.14% - $190,000 to $194,999

Operations Manager - $61,884 and

Senior Tax Manager - $133,553

Will The Wealth Distribution Change Soon?

Nearly every politician, finance guru and person on the street has an opinion about what do to get wealth more "evenly distributed." Tax the rich higher, regulate executive corporate pay, create better social programs – the list goes on and on. The upcoming presidential elections should keep the topic hot.

As always, we here at PayScale recommend that you take our survey and find out exactly what you should be paid for the work you do. We even have tips on how to approach your boss for your much-deserved raise. We wish you the best.

Source: All salary data provided by PayScale.com. Hourly rates are multiplied by 2080 hours per year to get approximate annual salaries. Median hourly rates and median annual salaries are for full-time workers with 3-5 years of experience, or 13-20 for the senior tax manager, and include any bonuses, commissions or profit sharing.

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  1. 7 Richard 15 Jan
    "Wage slave", you are so mis-informed. You are just repeating what you hear politicians say, without knowing reality.
  2. 6 keepin it real on the streets 08 Dec
    this reminds me of a the old proverb of the winter gloves made from beaver d**k pelts. sure they are warm and waterproof. but would you really want to wear them ?....
  3. 5 tyronne figgins 08 Dec
    Seattle has hired most of its government workers from the railroad in Canada. since they are from another country, they have to pay 15% less taxes to their border patrol. its a win win deal for the fisherman union rats too. 2 fish for the price of one.
  4. 4 JD Warner 26 Nov
    The only way to increase the real salary is to increase the individual productivity. If you are a lawn specialist.increase the amount of lawn you can mow in an hour or trees you can prune while maintaining the quality or even increasing the quality. An example of increased quality would be to cut the lawn and edge at teh same time. Increasing minimum wage will increase inflation and may pull down the buying power of the poor that is above the minimum wage. It will also make the companies to increase productivity through other means than through the employee. Example, order your food with touch screens and have the food delivered to you via conveyor belt. If the wage gets too large the frying of the hamburgers could be automatic too. That said we are entering an age where productivity from automated machines will make it where we only need a small percentage of the population working to provide the minimum to moderate standard of living. Soon we will have large semi to full autonomous machines mining ore, unmanned trucks delivering the ore to a smelter, a smelter will smelt the ore with 1/10 the people as today, the metal ingots delivering to a factory to make a consumer good via other undriven trucks. So forth, until the product gets to you. In this new world only a few percentage of the people would need to be employed to furnish everyone a defined standard of living. The only people we would need besides service people will be engineers and scientists for development of new products (even this can be automated to some extent) and people to maintain the equipment and a few accountants. In the near future people who does personal services or makes handcrafted items may well do the best overall. If this scenario does come about we will need a different way of valuing people so as to distribute the resources. How we do that I don't know.
  5. 3 Wage slave 17 Oct
    It's very simple, wages are to low and corporate taxes are to low. We screw the worker first when they get paid, then we do it again when they buy something. In the same breath we give tax breaks to corporate quote" persons" and it ruins the overall economy.
  6. 2 Jeremy 30 Sep
    @ED Weaver - Export more. Import less.
  7. 1 ED Weaver 18 Aug
    I am retired from 41 yrs of working as an engineer. I just can't see what anyone can do to increase pay without affecting prices. A person living in Seattle needs to make at least $22.00 an Hr just to live half decently. There is a push for raising the min. wages to $15.00 an hr. This will undoubtedly cause prices to go up counter productive!!!! This wage price issue will probably go on until an other recession hits us caused in part because to many people can't afford to live. I just can't see a way out took 40 yrs to get here and a service based economy, remember that 30yrs ago!!!!!!


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