How Many People Make Over 100k in the United States?
Updated · Mar 04, 2023
Ah, the American dream…
A nice house, a well-paying job, and plenty of money—that’s what life is about.
Unfortunately, not all of us can attain such a high standard of living.
The prevalence of the six-figure lifestyle (often promised by a good salary) varies significantly among different demographic groups.
Join us as we explore income distribution in 2022.
We’ll tell you how many people make over 100k, who they are, and how even the top 8% may be facing money struggles.
Fascinating Facts (Editor’s Choice)
- The median household income was around $67,521 in 2020.
- The median weekly salary in the first quarter of 2022 is $1,030, which is $47 higher than the first quarter of 2021.
- In 2022, 34.4% of American households see a $100,000+ income.
- More than 8% of all the US population earns $100k a year.
- Specifically, just 11.1% of all working women have a six-figure annual income.
- Almost 50% of $100,000 earners are living paycheck to paycheck.
- More than half-a-million in annual income? That’s a luxury only 1% of households can afford.
What Percentage of Americans Make Over $100k in 2022?
Well, not a big one—that’s for sure.
Although household income may be a whole different story, individual income rarely reaches six figures.
And, sadly, the passage of time isn’t doing much to boost these numbers.
See for yourself.
1. In 2019, 9% of people in the country earned at least $100,000.
Yeah, that percentage doesn’t seem like much. So, perhaps it’s better to think about how many Americans make over $100k in actual numbers instead of fractions.
At the end of the previous decade, the US was home to 329,064,917 people. That means 29,615,842 workers were making more than $100k a year.
If we break it down by generation, that’s 10% of millennials, 9% of Gen X, and 11% of baby boomers who were earning that much.
2. By 2021, the percentage of individuals making over 100k had dropped slightly.
All in all, a million fewer people were earning $100k than in 2019. The total comes at 28,756,345 people, representing about 8.7% of the US population in 2021.
Arguably, though, that isn’t a fair assessment, as not all the people in the country are working.
The labor force consisted of just 161.2 million people in 2021. So, then, what percent of Americans make over $100k?
17.8% of all working people in the country.
Slightly better, isn’t it? Though, perhaps, not as much as you were hoping for.
Fun fact: The pandemic not only caused many people to lose their jobs, it also prompted many baby boomers into early retirement. In Q3 2020, 30 million people stepped down for good.
3. Half of the $100k earners are living paycheck to paycheck.
(Source: The Hill)
You’d expect that six-figure earners would not have difficulties enjoying a lavish lifestyle, but the truth is that 48% of those who make at least $100,000 don’t have much in the way of savings.
They are, of course, not the only ones.
The overall percentage of Americans living paycheck to paycheck is 64%, a 12% increase from April 2021.
The truth is that, with the current state of the economy, people are turning towards personal and business loans now more than ever. Between credit cards, student loans, mortgages, and what-not, the average consumer debt goes up to $93,000!
And that’s just the average. It seems like the richer people are, the higher their debt is. For instance, the top 10%?
They have a median of $222,200 in debt.
So, no matter what percent of Americans make over 100k, you can rest assured that debt and taxes come for us all.
4. Just 1% of US households have a $500,000+ annual income.
(Source: World Economic Forum)
People tend to have a distorted perception of the average American salary and just how much their peers earn. If people’s estimates were true, 19% of the population would make at least $500,000 a year, and about half of those lucky ones would get to take home more than a million.
Alas, the reality is much crueler.
In fact, only 1.27 million American households have an income of $500,000 or more. This means that the number of people who make $500,000 all by themselves is much smaller than 1.27 million.
Fun fact: In reality, less than 0.5% of US households have an annual income of $1,000,000.
What is the Average American Income in the US?
In 2020, the US ranked 8th in the world in terms of average annual income. This should indicate a pretty good financial condition for the average Joe, but is this really the case?
We’ll give you the data and leave it up for you to decide.
5. As of April 2022, the average hourly wage is $27.12.
(Source: Trading Economics)
Considering an eight-hour work day and a five-day working week would mean an average of $1,084.80 a week and about $56,400 a year.
If it makes you feel any better, this is an improvement from last year. Back in June 2021, the average wage in the US fell to around $25.72 per hour, which comes to $53,500 a year.
In other words, there was a 5% increase from then to now.
Fun fact: Monaco is the country with the highest average annual income per capita ($186,080), followed by Bermuda ($112,240) and Switzerland ($82,620). The US takes eight place on the list.
6. In Q1 2022, the median salary in the US was $1,037 per week.
If you have forgotten what you’ve learned in Statistics 101, the median and the average are not quite the same. The average results from adding all the figures and then dividing the result by the number of data you used. That’s useful, but it can often be misleading, as a too high or too low figure may skew the result.
On the other hand, the median is the figure that falls right in the middle of all the ordered data. This is useful as it lets you know what the turning point is between the lower and the upper half—but it could also be misleading, as it doesn’t take into account how frequent specific numbers are, it just tells you where the middle lies.
So, the best is always to consider both numbers and see what that tells you.
In this case, the average salary in the US is around $1,085 per week, whereas the median weekly salary falls at $1,030. As you see, the two figures are relatively close together.
This means that the dataset is reasonably symmetrical—that is, that there are about as many people earning significantly less and significantly more than ~$1,050.
7. The median individual income was $44,225 in 2021.
2020’s median was $43,206, so that’s a 2.3% nominal increase. Keep in mind that the 2020 numbers are not adjusted for inflation—which, for the first time in 39 years, recorded a 7% YoY change.
The average income in the US, on the other hand, is much higher: $63,214.
Why is there a $19,000 difference?
Well, certain people hold a large proportion of the total wealth in the US, which skews the reality of income distribution.
Fun fact: 735 of the 2,668 billionaires on Earth live in the United States.
What’s the Average American Household Income in the US?
In the United States, a typical household involves more than one person. That is, more than 70% of all the households in the country are home to two or more individuals.
And, if you think about it, two people earning a bit more than the median individual national income should make a combined $100k salary, right?
Well, let’s see some household income stats and then we’ll talk.
8. The median household income increased by $11,908 from 2014 to 2020.
In 2014, the median household saw an income of $55,613. In 2020, that figure reached $67,521, recording a 21.4% positive change—which probably would’ve been higher had it not been for COVID-19.
The median household income was $69,560 in 2019. This means that there was a 2.9% YoY decline as we entered the pandemic.
9. The real average US household income came at $114,962 in 2020.
(Source: Economic Research)
So, median vs average household income. (Again.)
This time, the disparity between the two figures is quite significant, with the average being literally double the median in 2020.
Household income considers the earnings of all the people who live in it. For one household, this could mean just one person; for another, it could mean six people’s income added up. So, as you see, the disparity between the mean and the median in this instance isn’t all that surprising.
Furthermore, we’re talking about the real average here. In other words, what that income can actually buy after accounting for inflation.
Back in 2018, the real average yearly income stood at $109,314 per household. Then, a year later, it hit $118,192. But, much like the median, it went down 2.7% in 2020.
10. 34.4% of US households take home more than $100,000 in 2022.
(Source: IBIS World)
Since there are a total of 129.93 million households in the country, this means that at least 44.69 million of them earn $100,000.
And the figure is generally increasing—it has doubled since 1980 when only 15.2% of households made more than $100k.
But there was, of course, the pandemic hiccup. Back in 2019, 34.6% of households earned this much, and we’re only now getting back to that number two years later.
11. 15.3% of US households fall in the $100,000-$149,999 bracket.
We already answered what percentage of American households make over $100k in general, but how about we dive a little deeper into income distribution?
The majority of households (62.3%) report an annual income greater than $50,000, with the most popular (16.5%) income bracket being $50,000-$74,999 a year.
Half of the six-figures earning households (or 15.3% of the total) make anywhere from $100,000 to $149,999, whereas those in the $150,000-$199,999 bracket account for 8% of all households in the US.
Those that make more than $200,000?
They’re in the top 10.3% of the country.
Quick Stats About the American Average Income Demographics
Income varies among the different demographic groups in the United States. Whether it be in terms of gender or ethnicity, discrepancies are there, especially when it comes to how much people make.
So, while what you’ve seen so far refers to the US population as a whole, in this section, you’ll get to see how many people make over 100k across different groups and how they are doing in terms of average income.
12. Almost one-fourth of all male workers are $100k earners.
Okay, what percentage of men make six figures?
About a quarter of all male workers—or, to be exact, 23.4%—earn $100,000+ a year. That’s 19,504,449 men out of the total 83,352,346 male labor force.
For comparison, just 11.1% of women (9,251,896 female workers) make six-figures.
13. 90,839 single Black male millennials make six figures.
(Source: Black Demographics)
The total number of Black $100,000 earners aged 25-40 was 170,914 in 2019, representing 2% of the total number of people in this group.
If we’re talking specifically about the percentage of Black males making over $100k, that’s 1.1% of the whole group. That leaves 80,075 Black female millennials earning $100,000 or more.
Inequitable fact: Although the salary stats favor men, women have statistically higher educational achievements. Case in point, when it comes to Black millennials, 354,040 more women than men have at least a Bachelor’s degree—yet 10,764 more men earn $100k.
14. The median income of a Black household was $45,870 in 2020.
Out of the four demographic groups—Asian, White (non-Hispanic), Hispanic, and Black—the average annual income of a Black household is the smallest (a median of $45,870).
The highest median income is that of an Asian household ($94,903). That leaves White households in second place ($74,912), and Hispanic ones as second-to-last ($55,321).
Money, money, money…
Were you shocked by any of those stats?
How many people make over $100k, how many people make less than $40k, and income distribution generally tend to bring out tons of conflicting opinions.
We at Web Tribunal hope this article helped you form your own.
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.