The Math Behind the Median Income in Washington State: 13 Stats for 2023

Updated · Mar 06, 2023

Like it or not, it’s not just the economy that revolves around money. Our lives are tied to those paper and metal tokens that we long ago decided had more value than the material that they’re made of.

Amid the COVID-19 crisis and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, it’s worthwhile to review how income and wage levels have shifted over the past 2-3 years.

For our experiment today, we’ve picked the US and—specifically—the state of Washington as our main points of interest.

Let’s dive deep into the median income in Washington state and other relevant statistics.

Fascinating Facts About Income Levels in the US (Editor’s Choice)

  • In the US, the median income per household was $67,521 in 2020.
  • Yet, the average income for the same period was $97,026 per household.
  • Specifically in Washington, the median was $81,083 in terms of household income.
  • For comparison, the average figure stood at $103,669 in 2020.
  • 98039 is the WA zip code with the highest average income: $336,340.
  • Washington's population currently stands at 7.9 million.
  • Colorado boasts the 10th highest median income in the country: $75,231 per household.

The US’ Income Statistics: What to Know in 2022

Although the numbers aren’t quite in for the year, we’ll take a look at the most recent historical data and a few statistical projections for the present period.

Let’s get started.

1. In 2020, the average household income in the US was $97,026.

(Source: The Balance)

If you just look at the average income, it may seem that people in the United States are generally quite well-off, but the average figure might not paint an accurate picture by itself. 

When your country houses some of the richest folks on the planet, then the average suggests a higher income than what the average person actually earns. This is why it’s important to look at the US’ median household income, too.

Basically, the difference between the two is that, while the average income lets us know how much each person would get if we were to combine everybody’s earnings and then split them evenly among all of us, the median income shows us which figure falls right in the middle.

That is, if we were to split the whole population in two—the half that earns less and the half that earns more—which would be the turning point?

Well, in 2020, the median household income was $67,521. As you see, it’s significantly lower than the average $97,026.

2. In the US, the median income per adult was $79,274 in 2021.

(Source: Investopedia)

When we calculate the household income, we basically add up the earnings of all the people who live in the same house and are older than 15. When we talk about either income per adult or personal income, though, we only consider how much an individual makes on their own.

The average personal income in the US is currently pinpointed at $63,214. The median, on the other hand, falls at around $44,225.

Fun fact: The median income for adults in Switzerland is $146,733—that’s nearly double the median income in the United States!

3. What’s the average income by state?

(Source: World Population Review)

In 2019, the top three over-achievers were the District of Columbia ($88,702), Massachusetts ($81,123), and Connecticut ($80,530).

At the bottom of the list, you could find Mississippi ($41,776), West Virginia ($44,947), and Kentucky ($45,966).

The reasoning goes that the population in poorer states have lower educational achievements, especially at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The lower costs of living in said states might offset the disparities, but the poverty rates still remain excessively high.

Fun fact: The best cities you can live in if you earn $40,000 a year are Lincoln (NE), Sioux Falls (SD), and Huntsville (AL).

4. Mississippi has the lowest median income in the US ($59,400).

(Source: Novogradac)

In terms of median income by state, D.C. came out on top of the 2020 list with $113,100, followed by Massachusetts ($104,900), Maryland ($104,500), and New Jersey ($103,300).

However, predictions show that 70% of all states can reasonably expect an increment of at least 5% in terms of median income now that the pandemic is over.

For instance, in Washington D.C., the median income will likely soar to $134,900—that’s a 10.57% increase from 2021’s $122,000, making the District of Columbia the area with the highest estimated growth.

Washington’s Income: Let’s Break It Down

There’s more to Washington state’s median income figures than meets the eye.

We at Web Tribunal got down to the nitty-gritty so you can have a better understanding of the facts and figures.

Here’s what you need to know.

5. The median income per capita in Washington reached $53,448 in 2021.

(Source: Statista)

Why so low?

The US Census Bureau data defines households as composed of two or more individuals (who aren’t necessarily related), which explains why household income ($77,006 in 2020) remains consistently higher than personal income.

Now, as for the average personal income, it amounted to $71,889 per capita, which represents a 70% increase from 2009’s figure ($41,591).

6. On average, a Washingtonian family of four gets an income of $112,182.

(Source: GOBankingRates)

For a family to be considered middle class, the household income should fall around $71,747-$214,170.

This, of course, varies depending on the number of people there are in the household. The number above is true for a family of four, but if we’re talking about a family of three, for example, the range falls to $61,211-$182,720.

A two-people household, on the other hand, only needs to earn $53,747-$160,438 to be considered middle class.

So, what is considered low income in Washington state?

The living wage threshold for a single adult is $19.57 per hour. For a family of four that has two working adults, the hourly rate jumps up to $24.39.

Earning a lower hourly rate would qualify as low income.

7. The median household income in Washington is among the country’s top 10.

(Source: Income by Zip Code)

Specifically in 2020, Washington made it to the 9th spot on the list, boasting $77,006.

For comparison, the average income for a Washingtonian family reached $103,669 in 2020. Why is the gap so big?

Well, around 10.5% of all households in the state were classified as high-income ones, meaning that they brought home more than $200,000 per year.

8. The highest-paid breadwinners in Washington live in or near Seattle.

(Source: United States Census Bureau)

Looking at Washington state’s median income per county shows that households in King County were on top of the list in 2020, boasting a $99,158 income. Snohomish County came in second ($89,273) while Clark County ranked third with $77,184.

Now, the Washington state ZIP code that houses the highest-earners is 98039. The average income in this area—which is located on the east shore of Lake Washington within the bounds of Seattle—is $336,340.

9. Washington salaries are 5% higher than the national average.

(Source: salaryexplorer)

The average wages in Washington rose 10.1% in 2020, reaching $76,741. Specifically, the lowest average salary in Washington state is set to $25,300 a year, whereas the highest soars to an annual $446,000.

Mind you, this is still an average (calculated from a specific data set), and not the highest salary in the statewe can only guess at that one.

Washington’s Demographics: Who’s Who?

No stats review proves practical if you don’t take the bigger picture into account.

So, let’s go over a few interesting facts about the people who make Washington come to life.

10. The population of Washington hit 7,887,965 in 2022.

(Source: World Population Review)

With a growth rate of 1.17% per annum—meaning 91,024 new babies each year—Washington ranks as the 13th most populous state.

In general terms, 78% of the population are adults, but only 1.2 million of them are senior citizens. The median age is currently 37.8, with nearly a third of the state’s population falling in the 20-40 age group.

11. Washington state race demographics: The numbers in 2020.

(Source: World Population Review)

The overwhelming majority of Washington’s population identified as White (75.38%). The  biggest minorities in terms of race are Asians (8.53%), African Americans (3.8%), and Native Americans (1.28%).

Regarding ethnicity, 12.4% of the state’s population identified as Hispanic.

Fun fact: White people represented 80% of the US population back in the 80s. Nowadays, they only account for 60.1%.

12. Evaluating the gap in Washington: Salary by race.

(Source: Kids Count Data Center)

For the 2015-2019 period, the median income in Washington state for Asian households was $110,405, taking the first spot on the list.

The second place went to White Non-Hispanics with $94,080 per household, followed by Multiracial ($78,529), Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders ($70,759), Blacks ($61,576), American Indians and Alaska Natives ($56,312).

Hispanics come in last, earning only a median $55,618 per household.

13. How many people in Washington state have a job?

(Source: Data USA)

Back in 2019, there were 3.64 million people working in Washington. As of March 2022, the number went up to 3.84 million.

Around 113,000 people work as software developers, making it the most popular job position in the state. The second most popular one is “driver or sales workers,” drawing in 70,000+ people.

That said, these are by no means the highest-paid positions. In Washington, surgeons, architects, and physicians can look forward to an average salary of more than $220,000.

Wrap Up

The stats underlying the median income in Washington state are not the sole predictor of how well the population is recuperating from the pandemic period.

Yet, the data suggests that the economy is slowly picking its pace back up, which means good news for Washingtonians, the US, and the world as a whole.

Aleksandra Yosifova
Aleksandra Yosifova

With an eye for research, Aleksandra is determined to always get to the bottom of things. If there’s a glitch in the system, she’ll find it and make sure you know about it.