Income Percentile by Age: How Do You Compare?

The average American woman between ages 25 to 34 makes $36,660 a year. The average American man between those same ages makes $41,288 a year. Keep reading for information about average earnings per age group for men and women, ways to calculate your earnings, and tips for setting financial goals.

Income Percentile by Age

Many Americans find themselves wondering how they stack up as far as income. Being average or above average is great, but being below average can be worrisome. No one wants to be earning less than his or her peers and everyone wants to be on track for a healthy retirement.

When it comes to understanding where you are financially and setting financial goals, it helps to have a baseline. Below, we’ve listed the average income for age groups for men and women in 10-year increments. These numbers are taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics based on data from 2016. When thinking of your income, be sure to include all income — not just salary. Such ancillary income could include side hustles, bonuses, or passive income-like dividends.

  • Ages 16-24: $25,272 (women); $26,624 (men)
  • Ages 25-34: $36,660 (women); $41,288 (men)
  • Ages 35-44: $43,628 (women); $52,364 (men)
  • Ages 45-54: $43,472 (women); $55,900 (men)
  • Ages 55-64: $42,224 (women); $57,304 (men)
  • Ages 65 and older: $38,948 (women); $51,584 (men)

This list clarifies that there is such a thing as “prime earning years” between ages 35 to 54 for women and ages 35 to 64 for men. You may earn less in your early years because you’re busy with school and figuring out life. But then you will have a period of life that’s perfect for wealth building. After that, your household income is likely to decline. This decline may be caused by health issues, the economy’s devaluation of your career, or perhaps you will be seeking a greater work-life balance. Or, maybe you decide to retire early.

Income Percentile Calculator

One way to help you put things in perspective and understand your financial standing among your age group is to use this income percentile calculator. It can help you understand where you stand and help you set goals for the future.

An important thing to remember when setting income goals is do not be deceived by appearances. You may not have as big a house as someone else, but the owner of that house may be twice your age. Comparing yourself to others who’ve been working twice or even three times as long as you can be demoralizing. Instead, focus on what you’re doing at your specific age. Thinking this way is very powerful. In addition, it is very difficult to estimate someone’s wealth based on what he or she owns. Having lots of material possessions doesn’t necessarily mean lots of money and may even mean the exact opposite – lots of debt.

In Summary

Looking at average earnings by age group is a great way to understand where you are financially and can help you set financial goals for the future. While comparing yourself to others isn’t often helpful, it can be helpful to know if your income is falling below average, average, or above average. If you’d like to know how your financial earnings stack up, try using the income percentile calculator. You may also be interested in our other articles: The List of High Paying Jobs for 18-Year-Olds (Income Range Included) and Are You a Spender or a Saver? How to Learn to Enjoy Saving Money.

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    • Kathleen Wilson says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Moses! Thanks for catching that — looks like the link had expired. We’ve gone in and updated the article with a newer version of the link that you can now use. Hope this helps!

  • I know this guy that makes by my estimates around $75,000 a year which is really good, and even by what this post says is above average even for a high earner. The reason I know he makes this much money is because he likes to talk about how much money he has and how much he spends on things. “Do you like these shoes? I spent $700 on them”, “See my car I got it for $55,000” the funny thing about this to me is that he says this to some guys that own there own business and are making half a million a year, but you would never know that they make that much money. They live in modest homes, same cars they have had for years, and never talk about how much they spend on things except to tell you the great deal they got on them.

    • William Lipovsky says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      You should give that clown a copy of The Millionaire Next Door. It’s awesome he’s making a good income but it sounds like he’s being a bit nouveau riche.

  • Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore says:

    Great article Will! I will check out the calculator for me info, but my earnings are looking good so far. 🙂

    • William Lipovsky says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Motivating, am I right? Talking about money is cliche but we have this great data that lets us compare our incomes anyway! Hehehe.