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Household Income For Young, Middle-Aged & Seniors, In Two Graphs

Our blog had posted a number of articles on household income and spending in the U.S., and have often analyzed data based on the familiar divisions of race, class, education, geography and social privilege.  But as a recent infographic on Planet Money points out, there’s another, useful variable to consider: Age.

age income1

Families headed by middle-aged earners and bring in nearly $20,000 more every year, on average, than households of people in their late 20s or early 30s.  But some are surprised to learn that they also earn roughly $30,000 more than Americans age 65 and over (this difference DOES include income from Social Security and retirement).

This is hardly surprising, of course — income over one’s life cycle follows a curve, peaking when people hit their late 40s and early 50s.

Yet it’s still suggestive to remember that when economists talk about average household income for the country, they’re conflating many disparate households. A 24-year-old who’s paid $27,000 a year is in a much different position than a 45-year-old earning the same amount.

age income2

Planet Money includes a few additional notes on this data:

* All numbers represent pre-tax income.

* Income earned through work includes both money people earned on their full-time job and freelance income.

* Government assistance and benefits includes unemployment compensation, food stamps and veterans’ benefits, among other things.

* “Other” includes financial support from others as well as rental and property income.

* The data come the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Other legal factors can also affect income and wealth; a workplace injury can be a costly event in one’s career, and we recommend that workers seek professional representation from an attorney in managing their workers compensation claim with the Department of Labor & Industries. Contact a workers compensation attorney today for help with your case.

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Emery Reddy