A household’s income is calculated by adding up the pretax annual income earned by anyone in a household aged 15 or older. To determine the national median income, the Census Bureau ranks all US households by income and splits that list exactly in half: the bottom half of households fall below the median income, and the other half are above.
Median household income over time
Real median household income generally rises over time — from 1984 to 2013, it rose by about $9,000, before increasing sharply from 2014 ($64,900) to 2019 ($78,250).
Incomes typically dip before and after economic recessions (indicated by the gray bars in the graphic below), though not always.
How does median household income differ among states?
Maryland ($108,200), Washington, DC ($101,700), and Utah ($95,800) have the highest median household incomes in the country. The lowest are in Mississippi ($48,610), West Virginia ($52,460), and Arkansas ($53,980).
Are there demographic disparities in median household income?
While median household income decreased by $1,750 overall from 2021 to 2022, it increased among certain racial and ethnic groups.
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Median household income by race
From 2021 to 2022, Black and Hispanic households registered slightly higher median household incomes, by $780 and $280, respectively. Meanwhile, median household incomes decreased for white non-Hispanic (-$3,050), American Indian and Alaska Native (-$2,290), and Asian households (-$700).
But while Black and Hispanic households reported income increases, total annual income for both groups remains lower compared to others. In 2022, the median income for Black households was $52,860 — 35% less than the median income of white non-Hispanic households ($81,060) and 51% less than the median income of Asian households ($108,700). Hispanic households’ incomes are 77% that of white households and 58% of Asian households.
The Census Bureau also tracks median household income by “household type,” which it defines by the householder’s gender, marital status, and whether or not they live with other family members. The Census considers the householder the homeowner.