Average salary in the US by age and other demographics
September 5, 2023 6 min read
Keep reading to learn more about the BLS’ salary statistics and how your salary stacks up.
- Median salary statistics in the U.S. are reported by the BLS.
- Age is one helpful way to compare median salaries in the U.S. But other factors—like industry, location and education level—can impact salaries too.
- Pay gaps exist between the sexes and between ethnicities and races.
- Taking a look at the BLS median salary data can help you compare your salary to that of your peers—and even help you negotiate your salary.
Average salary vs. median salary
Whenever the BLS reports salary statistics, it typically shows the median—the salary right in the middle. In other words, half of workers earned less than the median, and half earned more than the median.
But why report the median instead of the average? The highest salaries are so atypical that they can skew the data. By relying on the median instead of the average, you can get a more accurate picture of typical income levels.
Median salary in the U.S. by age bracket
One helpful way of looking at median salaries is by age group since it allows you to compare your salary to that of others who are around the same age.
Here are the second quarter 2023 earnings of full-time wage and salary workers, ages 16 and older, according to the BLS:
|Age range||Median weekly earnings||Median annual earnings|
|65 and older||$1,101||$57,252|
Median salary in the U.S. by education level
While age is one helpful way to consider median salary data, other factors appear to influence salaries too. One major factor that can impact salary is education level.
Here’s how education levels compare among the second quarter 2023 full-time wage and salary workers, ages 25 and older, according to the BLS:
|Education level||Median weekly earnings||Median annual earnings|
|No high school diploma||$713||$37,076|
|High school diploma, no college||$889||$46,228|
|Some college or associate degree||$1,010||$52,520|
|Bachelor’s degree and higher||$1,588||$82,576|
Median salary in the U.S. for women and men
As the BLS points out, pay gaps—other than those related to factors like age, education, industry and location—exist between the sexes.
For example, women only earned about 84.1% of what men earned in the second quarter of 2023.
Here’s the breakdown of the earnings of full-time wage and salary workers, ages 16 and older, according to the BLS:
|Sex||Median weekly earnings||Median annual earnings|
Median salary in the U.S. based on ethnicity and race
Pay gaps also exist between ethnicities and races.
Here’s how they compare among the second quarter 2023 earnings of full-time wage and salary workers, ages 16 and older, according to the BLS:
|Ethnicity/race||Median weekly earnings||Median annual earnings|
|Hispanic or Latino||$851||$44,252|
Average weekly wages by state
Earnings can also vary depending on the state and size of the organization.
For example, these are the average weekly wages by state for private companies with 100-249 employees as of March 2022, the most recent data from the BLS:
|States||Average weekly wages|
|California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia and Washington||$1,434 and above|
|Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Wyoming and Vermont||$1,259 to $1,433|
|Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin||$1,160 to $1,258|
|Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma and West Virginia||$1,050 to $1,159|
|Idaho, Mississippi, New Mexico and South Carolina||$1,049 and below|
Average salary in the U.S. by industry
Salaries can depend on the industry an employee works in. The BLS last compiled and shared data in May 2022 from all industries in both metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas from every state and Washington, D.C.
The following are the average annual salaries for some major industries:
|Occupations||Average annual salary|
|Business and financial operations||$86,080|
|Computer and mathematical||$108,130|
|Educational instruction and library||$63,240|
|Arts, design, entertainment, sports and media||$76,500|
|Health care practitioners and technical||$96,770|
|Health care support||$35,560|
|Food preparation and service||$32,130|
|Sales and sales-related||$50,370|
|Construction and extraction||$58,400|
Average salary in the U.S. FAQs
Still curious about average salaries in the U.S.? Here are some other common questions:
What is household income?
According to the IRS, household income refers to your adjusted gross income (AGI), including excludible foreign-earned income and tax-exempt interest received throughout the year. Household income also includes a spouse’s and any dependent’s AGI.
But if the dependent’s AGI falls below the filing threshold or if they file a return for another reason, their income isn’t included in the household’s income.
What does the average 25-year-old make?
The BLS groups median salaries by age brackets. The median salary for ages 25-34 in the second quarter of 2023 is $54,184 per year. And the median salary for individuals ages 20-24 is $37,024 per year.
You may notice that the BLS data shows a bigger jump in salary between these two age brackets than the other age ranges. This might be because individuals gain more experience in an industry and develop more hard skills and soft skills.
What occupations are projected to experience growth?
Your salary can vary depending on the industry you work in. According to the BLS, there are some occupations that are projected to experience more growth than others over the next decade. This could be helpful to know if you’re starting a new job or switching fields.
Here are some of the occupations with the highest projected growth rate from 2021 to 2031, according to the BLS:
- Nurse practitioners: 46%
- Cooks, restaurant: 37%
- Information security analysts: 35%
- Statisticians: 33%
- Web developers: 30%
- Physician assistants: 28%
Average salary in the U.S. in a nutshell
With information from the BLS, it’s easy to compare salaries in the U.S. based on a variety of factors. And by taking a look at the data, you can see how your salary compares to that of your peers. It could even help you negotiate your salary when the time comes.