Pay off high-rate debt with a personal loan and save thousands. Learn more.

What Is the Average Pay in the United States Per Year?

By Sarah Li Cain · May 11, 2023 · 8 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

What Is the Average Pay in the United States Per Year?

Whether you’re deciding on a new career path or wondering whether you’re being paid enough, it can help to know what the typical American worker earns per year.

Based on the latest data available from the Social Security Administration (SSA), the average annual pay in the U.S. in 2021 was $60,575 — an 8.89% jump from the previous year. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates the average worker made closer to $67,610 that same year. The amount you make may depend on a number of factors, including your occupation, where you live, your gender, and your level of education.

Check your score with SoFi

Track your credit score for free. Sign up and get $10.*


Key Findings

Let’s take a closer look at how the average annual pay in the U.S. has changed over a three-year period based on data from both the SSA and BLS.

Year

Average Annual Salary per SSA

Average Annual Salary per BLS

2019 $54,099.99 $59,209
2020 $55,628.60 $64,021
2021 $60,575.07 $67,610

It can also be helpful to look at median earnings, which represent the midpoint of salaries in the U.S. In other words, half of the salaries fall below the median, and half are higher than the median.

The following table shows the median annual salary for a three-year period.

Year

Median Annual Salary

2022 $54,132
2021 $51,896
2020 $51,168

Source: BLS

As you can see, average and median incomes have risen each year. However, average salaries can be affected by various factors such as your occupation, age, and gender. Note that the numbers above also don’t include unearned income.

Examples of High-Salary Jobs in the US

Some industries tend to pay more than others, which means the career you choose may affect how much you earn. Here’s a sampling of high-paying jobs and their average annual salary, according to the BLS:

•   Cardiologist, $353,970 per year

•   Dentist, $177,770

•   Aircraft pilots and flight engineer, $169,540

•   Lawyer and judicial law clerk, $146,220

•   Public relations manager, $138,000

•   Air traffic controller, $127,920

Recommended: How to Reduce Taxable Income for High Earners

Average American Income by Occupation

While salaries tend to vary based on geography, seeing how much certain types of jobs pay can be informative. Let’s take a look at different occupations and how much they typically pay.

Occupation (Type)

Average annual salary

Management $123,370
Legal $113,100
Computer and Mathematical Operations $99,860
Architecture and Engineering $91,740
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical $91,100
Business and Financial Operations $82,610
Life, Physical, and Social Science $80,730
Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media $66,100
Educational Instruction and Library $62,140
Construction and Extraction $55,900
Community and Social Service $53,960
Protective Service $53,420
Installation, Maintenance, and Repair $53,380
Sales (and Related) $46,080
Office and Administrative Support $43,430
Transportation and Material Moving $41,340
Farming, Fishing, and Forestry $34,730
Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance $33,750
Personal Care and Service $33,620
Healthcare support $33,330
Food Preparation and Serving Related $29,450

Source: BLS, May 2022 data

Keep in mind that average salaries may differ depending on the specific occupation you have. For example, although claims adjusters fall under the business and financial operations category, their average salary is around $70,960.

US Income by Gender

Demographics, specifically gender, are another factor to consider. By and large, men tend to outearn women throughout their career. The median annual salary for a 16- to 24-year-old man is $33,800; a woman of the same age earns $31,460, per the latest data available from the BLS. Likewise, the median annual salary for a man aged 25 and older is $60,320; a woman of the same age earns $49,608.

Median Income by State

Wages often vary based on where you live. In many cases, states with higher costs of living also have higher wages. For example, the median annual income in Hawaii is $100,532 — much higher than Mississippi’s median annual income of $61,205.

Below is the median income by state for a household of three people, according to data compiled by the Census Bureau between April 1 and May 14, 2022.

State

Median annual income

Alabama $70,250
Alaska $108,072
Arizona $79,110
Arkansas $70,169
California $97,092
Colorado $100,744
Connecticut $108,409
Delaware $96,841
District of Columbia $138,342
Florida $75,057
Georgia $79,980
Hawaii $100,532
Idaho $76,635
Illinois $97,067
Indiana $81,783
Iowa $85,758
Kansas $88,369
Kentucky $71,501
Louisiana $71,371
Maine $87,051
Maryland $113,994
Massachusetts $117,415
Michigan $84,245
Minnesota $106,445
Mississippi $61,205
Missouri $80,022
Montana $79,652
Nebraska $91,076
New Hampshire $113,013
Nevada $91,076
New Jersey $117,697
New Mexico $66,183
New York $96,854
North Carolina $76,386
North Dakota $94,950
Ohio $82,734
Oklahoma $71,397
Oregon $93,773
Pennsylvania $92,441
Rhode Island $101,104
South Carolina $75,128
South Dakota $87,475
Tennessee $75,394
Texas $80,733
Utah $90,629
Vermont $92,628
Virginia $102,869
Washington $104,644
West Virginia $71,757
Wisconsin $92,586
Wyoming $88,902

US Income by Race

As the BLS data below shows, there is often a pay disparity among workers of different races and ethnicities.

•   Asian, $69,056 per year

•   White, $52,936

•   Black or African American, $41,652

•   Hispanic or Latino, $40,404

How Does Your Income Stack Up?

Now that you’ve seen some of the average and median annual salaries by occupation, location, gender, and race or ethnicity, how does yours compare? If you’re not making as much as you’d like, you may want to research wages in your industry and region, and use that information to help you negotiate a higher salary. If you’re ready to make a bigger change, you can use this data as you consider whether to switch to a more lucrative field or relocate to a higher-paying region.

Recommended: How to Negotiate Your Signing Bonus

How to Stretch Your Income

Here are some different strategies to help you make the most of the money you make:

Track Your Spending

Understanding exactly where your money is going can help you keep tabs on where your money is going and identify areas where you can cut back. Consider using a spending app to track your spending and saving.

Negotiate Bills

Want to lower monthly expenses, such as your cell phone or internet services? Consider calling up various providers to see if you’re able to get a better deal or if there are promotions you can take advantage of.

Cut Back on Large Expenses

Housing, food, and transportation tend to be the largest line budget items. Explore ways to trim your biggest costs. Examples include refinancing your mortgage, negotiating your rent, shopping at discount grocery stores, and taking public transportation when possible.

Sharpen Your Marketable Skills

Accepting networking opportunities and taking professional development courses could help you become more marketable as an employee. This in turn could set you up to earn more in the long run. If you’re on a tight budget, look into no- or low-cost ways to cultivate high-income skills, and ask your employer if there are any free resources are available.

Pros and Cons of a High Salary

A high income can be great, but it does come with some downsides.

Pros:

•   Improved quality of life: With more money, you can afford a higher standard of living and be able to afford different amenities such as better access to healthcare and food.

•   Financial security: The more you earn, the more you can feel secure you have enough money to afford the things you want and need.

•   Ability to achieve financial goals faster: Having more disposable income could mean you can set more money aside for long- and short-term savings goals, like retirement or going on a family vacation.

Cons:

•   Higher taxes: Earning more can put you in a higher tax bracket. However, there are ways to reduce your taxable income.

•   Pressure to maintain income: If you’re accustomed to a certain living standard, you may feel like you need to keep earning the same amount or more to maintain it.

•   More work stress: In many cases, higher-paying jobs come with more responsibilities and at times, longer hours.

The Takeaway

Understanding what the average American worker makes in a year can come in handy, especially if you’re considering a new career path, negotiating a higher salary, or looking for a new place to live. According to the latest data from the Social Security Administration, the average annual pay in the U.S. is $60,575. But the amount you earn may depend on a wide range of factors, such as the industry you work in, where you live, your gender, and your race or ethnicity.

If you’re looking to make the most out of the money you earn, consider using a money tracker app. The SoFi app connects all of your accounts in one convenient dashboard. From there, you can see all of your balances, spending breakdowns, and credit score monitoring, plus you can get other valuable financial insights.

Stay up to date on your finances by seeing exactly how your money comes and goes.

FAQ

What is a good salary in the USA?

There’s no one set amount that would be considered a good salary in the U.S. However, the average salary is around $60,575, according to the Social Security Administration.

What is the real average wage in the US?

The average wage in the U.S. is $67,610 according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What is the top 10 percent income in the US?

According to the Economic Policy Institute, the top 10% of workers in the U.S. earn $133,482.

How much should you be making at 30?

While there is no definitive amount you should earn by the time you’re 30, the average salary for U.S. workers aged 25 to 34 is $52,832, according to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Photo credit: iStock/VAKSMANV

SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc.’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. Based on your consent SoFi will also automatically provide some financial data received from the credit bureau for your visibility, without the need of you connecting additional accounts. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.

*Terms and conditions apply. This offer is only available to new SoFi users without existing SoFi accounts. It is non-transferable. One offer per person. To receive the rewards points offer, you must successfully complete setting up Credit Score Monitoring. Rewards points may only be redeemed towards active SoFi accounts, such as your SoFi Checking or Savings account, subject to program terms that may be found here: SoFi Member Rewards Terms and Conditions. SoFi reserves the right to modify or discontinue this offer at any time without notice.

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

SORL0423006

All your finances.
All in one app.

SoFi QR code, Download now, scan this with your phone’s camera

All your finances.
All in one app.

App Store rating

SoFi iOS App, Download on the App Store
SoFi Android App, Get it on Google Play

TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender