# Income in United States

In this article, I show you everything there is to know about income and taxes in the United States.

I’ve seen countless articles that focus on estimates and guesses on this subject. In this article I provide cold hard facts. You’ll be shocked by what I found!

My two sources are the Federal Reserve Boards Survey of Consumer Finances and the IRS Tax Stats Reports.

I’ll show you numerous charts to help make the information easier to digest. I’m going to specifically answer the following questions:

• Deep analysis of income in the United States
• What tax rates are people really paying (Federal, State, Local, etc.)
• How do people in different tax brackets spend their money
• Are wealthy people getting better at finding tax deductions
• Deep analysis of the top 400 earners in the United States
• Who is the 1 Percent?
• Do corporations pay their fair share

And, a ton of other questions will be answered!

How Much Money do US Citizens Make

If I showed you all of the incomes in 1 line graph it wouldn’t tell you anything, so I’ll show you everything in its own graph.

Here is all of the information that was used to create the above graphs. I list the top 400 in Billions so everything fits.

Year Bottom 20% 20 – 40% 40 – 60% 60 – 80% 80 – 90% Top 10% Top 1% Top 400
1989 \$9,600 \$23,600 \$41,700 \$65,800 \$98,400 \$273,600 \$1,030,500 \$3.629B
1992 \$9,500 \$23,000 \$39,300 \$62,600 \$92,900 \$217,000 \$908,500 \$4.189B
1995 \$9,000 \$23,700 \$40,700 \$62,600 \$94,100 \$237,000 \$805,392 \$5.415B
1998 \$10,100 \$25,700 \$43,300 \$69,100 \$101,300 \$279,500 \$1,038,400 \$6.170B
2001 \$11,700 \$28,200 \$47,100 \$76,200 \$114,700 \$354,100 \$1,474,000 \$6.788B
2004 \$11,900 \$28,600 \$47,700 \$76,000 \$117,000 \$331,900 \$1,225,190 \$8.687B
2007 \$12,300 \$28,300 \$47,300 \$76,600 \$116,000 \$397,700 \$1,670,130 \$8262B

Here is the total income from all corporations. I cover this in detail later.

• 1992 : \$377.899 Billion
• 1995 : \$564.733 Billion
• 1998 : \$662.258 Billion
• 2001 : \$634.366 Billion
• 2004 : \$857.391 Billion
• 2007 : \$1.248 Trillion

How Has Income Distribution Changed (1980-2008)

Income distribution since 1980 has changed pretty dramatically in the United States. This is how many times incomes have doubled in the different groups:

• Top 1% : 12.21
• Top 5% : 8.56
• 5-10% : 5.13
• 10-25% : 4.56
• 25-50% : 4.01
• Bottom 50% : 3.73

The Following is total earned income of all brackets in Billions of dollars.

Year Top 1% Top 5% 5 – 10% 10 – 25% 25 – 50% Bottom 50%
1980 \$138 \$342 \$181 \$400 \$417 \$288
1981 \$149 \$372 \$201 \$442 \$458 \$318
1982 \$167 \$398 \$207 \$460 \$478 \$332
1983 \$183 \$428 \$217 \$481 \$498 \$344
1984 \$210 \$482 \$240 \$528 \$543 \$379
1985 \$235 \$531 \$260 \$567 \$580 \$405
1986 \$285 \$608 \$278 \$604 \$613 \$421
1987 \$347 \$722 \$316 \$671 \$664 \$440
1988 \$474 \$891 \$342 \$718 \$707 \$466
1989 \$468 \$918 \$368 \$768 \$751 \$494
1990 \$483 \$953 \$385 \$806 \$788 \$519
1991 \$457 \$943 \$400 \$832 \$809 \$532
1992 \$524 \$1,031 \$413 \$856 \$832 \$549
1993 \$521 \$1,048 \$426 \$883 \$854 \$563
1994 \$547 \$1,103 \$449 \$929 \$890 \$590
1995 \$620 \$1,223 \$482 \$985 \$938 \$617
1996 \$737 \$1,394 \$515 \$1,043 \$992 \$646
1997 \$873 \$1,597 \$554 \$1,116 \$1,060 \$695
1998 \$1,010 \$1,797 \$597 \$1,196 \$1,132 \$748
1999 \$1,153 \$2,012 \$641 \$1,274 \$1,199 \$783
2000 \$1,337 \$2,267 \$688 \$1,358 \$1,276 \$834
2001 \$1,094 \$1,996 \$694 \$1,380 \$1,308 \$862
2002 \$986 \$1,868 \$686 \$1,382 \$1,309 \$870
2003 \$1,055 \$1,961 \$703 \$1,415 \$1,330 \$880
2004 \$1,306 \$2,300 \$750 \$1,497 \$1,406 \$922
2005 \$1,592 \$2,684 \$803 \$1,582 \$1,475 \$963
2006 \$1,792 \$2,978 \$865 \$1,693 \$1,570 \$1,016
2007 \$2,008 \$3,295 \$933 \$1,818 \$1,675 \$1,078
2008 \$1,685 \$2,927 \$930 \$1,822 \$1,674 \$1,075

What Percentage of Top 5% of Income Goes to the Top 1%

Corporate Income Changes (1980 – 2008)

Here I’ll show the changes in corporate income (All Corporations Combined) from 1980 to 2008. I’ll include a chart for Taxable Income and Taxable Income after deductions.

By doing this we’ll see if corporations have gotten better at exploiting deductions.

As you can see above, Corporations have been very good at utilizing deductions. Except for 2005 though they have been paying taxes on roughly the same percentage of their after deduction income.

What Do People Spend Money On

Here I list the average amount people spend on different products and services. I also list those same percentages for the Bottom, Middle and Upper 20%.

As you can see with these charts, as income increases mainly so does the value of the home. This is why the United States was wrecked by the housing collapse.

As I showed in my article Average Americans Net Worth, when housing values fell over 33% citizens saw their net worth fall by 22.3%.

How Much Do People Really Pay in Federal Taxes

Here I’ll focus on Federal Income taxes. Based on IRS data, here are the percentages that the different income groups pay on Federal Income Taxes (1980 – 2008).

As you can see, nobody is paying the amount they are supposed to. Here are those percentages by the way:

 Tax Rate Married Couples Filing Jointly Most Single Filers 10% Not over \$17,050 Not over \$8,525 15% \$17,050 – \$69,300 \$8,525 – \$34,650 25% \$69,300 – \$139,850 \$34,650 – \$83,900 28% \$139,850 – \$235,550 \$83,900 – \$194,150 36% \$235,550 – \$380,500 \$194,150 – \$380,500 39.6% Over \$380,500 Over \$380,500

You may notice that corporations pay the highest rate in taxes per year. Don’t discount the data that I showed previously in that after deductions they pay taxes on only 25% of their total income. You can never just look at one piece of data.

How Much Money is Lost in Uncollected Federal Tax Revenue

Here I’ll calculate how much each income bracket would pay in Federal taxes (2008) if they were taxed at the defined amount above.

There is a dramatic difference between collected and expected taxes on the federal level. All together in 2008 alone \$1.307 Trillion in Federal Tax revenue wasn’t paid. If you add to that the amount not paid by corporations, that number jumps to \$1.650 Trillion.

• Amount Not Paid by Top 50% : \$1.201 Trillion
• Amount Not Paid by Bottom 50% : \$106.375 Billion
• Amount Not Paid by All Corporations : \$342.35 Billion

State and Local Tax Rates

Here is a list of nearly all of the common state and local taxes. Everyone pays pretty much the same rate irregardless of income.

Avg. / yr is an estimate of the total state taxes that are paid per citizen per year. Everything else should be self explanatory.

 State Avg. / yr State Local Combined Gas Corp Sales Alabama \$483 4.0 4.03 8.0 .21¢ 6.5 4.0 Alaska \$0 0.0 1.12 1.12 .08¢ 9.4 0.0 Arizona \$842 6.6 2.41 9.01 .19¢ 6.97 6.6 Arkansas \$986 6.0 2.1 8.1 .22¢ 6.5 6.0 California \$883 8.25 .83 9.08 .47¢ 8.8 8.25 Colorado \$443 2.9 4.08 6.98 .22¢ 4.63 2.9 Connecticut \$868 6.0 0.0 6.0 .42¢ 7.5 6.0 Delaware \$0 0.0 0.0 0.0 .23¢ 8.7 0.0 Florida \$1,149 6.0 .99 6.99 .35¢ 5.5 6.0 Georgia \$620 4.0 2.95 6.95 .12¢ 6.0 4.0 Hawaii \$1,832 4.0 .35 4.35 .44¢ 6.4 4.0 Idaho \$735 6.0 .03 6.03 .25¢ 7.6 6.0 Illinois \$605 6.25 1.97 8.22 .39¢ 7.3 6.25 Indiana \$845 7.0 0.0 7.0 .34¢ 8.5 7.0 Iowa \$604 6.0 .84 6.84 .22¢ 12.0 6.0 Kansas \$770 6.3 1.65 7.95 .25¢ 7.05 6.3 Kentucky \$653 6.0 0.0 6.0 .23¢ 6.0 6.0 Louisiana \$799 4.0 4.69 8.69 .20¢ 8.0 4.0 Maine \$788 5.0 0.0 5.0 .31¢ 8.93 5.0 Maryland \$602 6.0 0.0 6.0 .24¢ 8.25 6.0 Massachusetts \$623 6.25 0.0 6.25 .24¢ 8.75 6.25 Michigan \$800 6.0 0.0 6.0 .35¢ 4.95 6.0 Minnesota \$859 6.88 .27 7.15 .27¢ 9.8 6.8 Mississippi \$1,047 7.0 0.0 7.0 .19¢ 5.0 7.0 Missouri \$531 4.25 3.24 7.47 .17¢ 6.25 4.23 Montana \$0 0.0 0.0 0.0 .28¢ 6.75 0.0 Nebraska \$797 5.5 .89 6.39 .28¢ 7.81 5.5 Nevada \$1,268 6.85 1.11 7.96 .31¢ 0.0 6.85 New Hampshire \$0 0.0 0.0 1.12 .20¢ 8.5 0.0 New Jersey \$786 7.0 0.0 7.0 .15¢ 9.36 7.0 New Mexico \$891 5.13 2.01 7.14 .19¢ 7.0 5.1 New York \$583 4.0 4.52 8.52 .45¢ 7.1 4.0 North Carolina \$567 5.75 2.07 7.82 .30¢ 6.9 5.75 North Dakota \$672 5.0 0.57 5.57 .23¢ 6.4 5.0 Ohio \$674 5.5 1.28 6.78 .28¢ 3.4 5.5 Oklahoma \$503 4.5 3.83 8.33 .17¢ 6.0 4.5 Oregon \$0 0.0 0.0 0.0 .25¢ 7.9 0.0 Pennsylvania \$675 6.0 .34 6.34 .32¢ 9.99 6.0 Rhode Island \$800 7.0 0.0 7.0 .33¢ 9.0 7.0 South Carolina \$737 6.0 1.25 7.25 .17¢ 5.0 6.0 South Dakota \$869 4.0 1.22 5.22 .24¢ 0.0 4.0 Tennessee \$1,068 7.0 2.44 9.44 .21¢ 6.5 7.0 Texas \$777 6.25 1.36 7.61 .20¢ 0.0 6.25 Utah \$741 5.95 .67 6.62 .25¢ 5.0 5.9 Vermont \$523 6.0 0.0 6.0 .25¢ 8.5 6.0 Virginia \$427 5.0 0.0 5.0 .20¢ 6.0 5.0 Washington \$1,571 6.5 2.14 8.64 .38¢ 0.0 6.5 West Virginia \$619 6.0 0.0 6.0 .32¢ 8.7 6.0 Wisconsin \$743 5.0 .42 5.42 .33¢ 7.9 5.0 Wyoming \$1,213 4.0 1.3 5.3 .14¢ 0.0 4.0

Estate Taxes in the United States

An estate tax is imposed upon death on people with a net wealth of over \$5 Million dollars as of the year 2011. When the estate tax was first created in the United States its purpose was avoid the creation of an elite group of super rich individuals.

From 2001 until 2010 the United States decreased the overall tax rate while increasing the number of people who were exempt from estate taxes. This is how estate taxes were handled during this period.

 Year of Death Exempt Up To Highest Tax Rate 2001 \$675,000 55% 2002 \$1,000,000 50% 2003 \$1,000,000 49% 2004 \$1,500,000 48% 2005 \$1,500,000 47% 2006 \$2,000,000 46% 2007 \$2,000,000 45% 2008 \$2,000,000 45% 2009 \$3,500,000 45% 2010 No Tax No Tax 2011 \$5,000,000 35%

President Obama is responsible for negotiating a reinstatement of the estate tax in 2011. There is a great deal of disagreement on whether an estate tax should exist at all.

If I might be allowed to insert my 2 cents. The estate tax was only ever supposed to be levied against the ultra wealthy. So, the exemption level being set at \$165,000 in 2001 definitely didn’t fit those guidelines. However the new exemption level seems too.

The tax was always meant to be quite sizable however. So, based on history 35% is not a high enough tax rate. But, government being imperfect what more can you ask for.

The total amount paid in estate taxes from 2001 to 2007 is:

• 2001 : \$91.01 Billion
• 2002 : \$94.56 Billion
• 2003 : \$101.63 Billion
• 2004 : \$102.88 Billion
• 2005 : \$115.87 Billion
• 2006 : \$134.84 Billion
• 2007 : \$145.31 Billion

Those with Net Worths in excess of \$5 Million have been trying to use what are called Dynasty Trusts to avoid Estate Taxes all together. This involves on going legislation so I’ll skip the topic of dynasty trusts for now.

How Much Does Social Security Pay to Retirees

The average person on Social Security gets 1,077.20 / month (\$6.73 / hr). That is just about enough for basic needs and health insurance. I’ll break it down:

• \$1,077.20 Avg. Income on SS
• – \$115.40 Medicare costs / month
• – \$208.00 Least Expensive Medicare Supplement I found costs / month
• –  \$40.00 Medicare part D costs / month
• – \$208.00 Avg. Monthly Food Cost
• – \$625.00 Avg. Monthly Housing Cost

Total Amount Left after Covering Basic Needs -\$119.20

To find out more about Social Security and Medicare see Fix Social Security and Medicare.

That’s All Folks

Well that is pretty much everything there is to know about Income in the United States from 1980 to 2008. If you liked this article you’ll like my article on Average Net Worths of Americans.

I’m going to further investigate the top 1% with a focus on the 403 Billionaires in the United States in my next article.

If you liked this article I’d appreciate it greatly if you clicked on the Google +1 button on the right side of the screen. By doing that you will help other people find this article.

Till Next Time

Think Tank

### 7 Responses to “Income in United States”

1. Jeff Campbell says:

The table with state taxes doesn’t look correct. Nevada doesn’t have state or local taxes, while Maryland does have state and local taxes, for example.

2. Jer says:

This is not perfect,it’s general,Nevada true does not have an indv.state incme tax but it costs more in taxes to live there than Utah . In all states with all taxes combined throwing out the smallest and largest couple there close to 3000 top to bottom, give me a break you pay one way or the other and that’s o.k. For crying out loud everyone wants something for nothing, what gets me it should be across the board even.

Here is the newest Survey of Consumer Finances from the federal reserve. I was going to cover it, but I decided I don’t particularly care about this topic anymore.

3. rodgerp says:

Derek, I appreciate that you have put this together, as it does have some informational value. So thank you for that.

It is confusing on which charts / data you got from which of the two sources you say, AND it would be very helpful to be specific as to where in those sources you pulled it from. If this analysis is to have any rigor, it should at least do this for the readers to be credible. Unfortunately, the IRS link no longer works – not your fault – and the Fed Survey is over 1200 pages…just reinforces the point to identify the document and where / what section for each of the group of items you present.

An example that raises the red flag is the table on state and local taxes. Would be nice to have a footnote at least to discuss how those numbers are arrived at, since (as a previous poster correctly identified) we know that some states have no income tax. The three columns: State, Local, Combined read like a reference to sales tax. But there is a Sales column that has nearly identical numbers to the State column. Makes me suspect that income tax is not included at all. And what about property tax? Also, just eyeballing it, looks to me that Alaska and Delaware don’t meet your assertion that the States are all “about the same”…won’t bother to investigate the rest if I can so easily find two exceptions. Tax burden at the state and local level falls unevenly on different income levels…it deserves similar analysis to and alignment with the federal burden to see if your assertion truly bears out.

The “Uncollected Federal Income Tax” is a construct that implies, if not outright assumes, that somehow that money “rightly belongs to government” and/or that the actors in the political process that begot the tax rules did not understand the net effect and intent of the laws they were passing. To make it clearer…what if the tax rate was 100%, but that the tax laws happen give everyone a 50% automatic deduction…would that 50% constitute uncollected tax?

The eight charts depicting what people / corporations really do pay are very enlightening. It looks to me (eyeballing it) like the main beneficiary in percentage reduction of tax burden have been the bottom 50% at about a 50% lower rate. The top 1% were reduced by 20%, while the rest seem to be reduced by 30-35%.

There should be something said (footnote?) about why 2005 seems anomalous on the corporate taxable income before deductions. Was it the one time repatriation of foreign profits tax free?

The eight income charts at the top are good, but would like to know if they are in constant dollars or in nominal dollars. While even the bottom 20% seemed to have a significant lift in income, it might be close to zero in real terms.

I am bookmarking this and would be delighted to see you address these issues in an update to the posting, as I think you have hit on an important topic and have a summary of interesting points to make.

Hi,

I want to first point out that this article had nothing to do with Occupy Wall Street, because I wrote this way before any of those events occurred. So, this data was put together only because others requested it and it had no other political motivation.

As per the sources, the major source used was the Federal Reserve Boards Survey of Consumer Finances. There is now a new version that is available here FRB Survey of Consumer Finances 2010. I used the 2008 version, so any changes that have occurred since which there are many are not covered above.

I also pulled a great deal of information from the IRS tax stats site. I provide raw data from both sources here US Economic Crisis. It is in Excel format so you are more than welcome to investigate the data there.

As per the table of state taxes. I listed every states income tax rate, in which some don’t have one. I then included the average tax rate based on local taxes. All of this information was 100% accurate at that time. If anything has changed I’m sorry about that. I figured that the rates wouldn’t change much if at all and if anyone was truly interested they would look it up on their own.

In 2005 the tax rate is so low because corporations were given a tax holiday of foreign profits.

I’m not a political person and if anything the last 2 years have made me less of one. I have watched people argue about nonsense for so long that I have no interest in being a part of it. Meanwhile while hundreds of thousands have been killed in wars, Indefinite Detention was passed on New Years Eve, ACTA was signed without congressional approval, etc……

I see no point in arguing about a system in which the system acts against the interest of the people. I also have not seen the people do anything positive, but instead they have relished in more arguing.

I instead have decided to help in my own way and let the arguing to others. I want everyone to be educated and so I provide free education both online and for my community. I want the poor to be cared for so I provide food to food pantries and give to local charities that I know help. I want people in my country to have jobs and so I buy products made in my country even if they cost 10% more.

So that is a brief overview on where I come from. I hope that makes sense and explains why I won’t be wasting my time talking about government in future articles.

Derek

• rodgerp says:

Maybe my posting came across as overly critical, prompting your reply about OWS and being non-political, etc.. Sorry. My intent was to better understand the data you present. Just as a good “fundamentals” investor checks out the data beyond the financial statements for a company, it is worth exploring the source to gain a better understanding (e.g. constant or nominal dollars on the income charts).

I commend you for initiating a discussion. That is the first step in motivating people to do something positive. Of course, what is positive may be a matter of one’s interpretation.

You in effect are arguing by placing your tutorials out there with a definite point of view (Saw your youtube link and your impressive series of tutorials). I came to this site because I was seeking additional data with some interepretation around it.

I agree with you that there is something wrong out there (after watching your linked video – seems that you have other distribution of wealth themed ones too). Not sure we’d agree on what to do, if I read between the lines of your posting and video correctly.

However, since you eschew discussion on this, I’ll just conclude with this…

My view is that government has gotten so big that it has become a power play for whoever can get their hands on (or best influence) the levers for their own benefit. This is not the exclusive domain for the rich or the corporations to abuse. It incentivizes special interest groups across the entire political spectrum to take care of their specific desires often (usually?) at the expense of someone else’s…and is typically sold as being in the public’s interest. The effect is incremental, and the link between cause and effect blurs.

In this crisis it sharpened somewhat in that we can see groups of people and institutions who have not had to pay a consequence for bad behavior. Yet, specific blame by individual is hard to come by because of all the linkages of influence and regulation. To what extent did the regulations, institutional imperatives (e.g. at Fannie Mae), and moral suasion the federal government (the seeds of which are at least a generation old) used to loosen lending practices and broaden home ownership in the name of perceived inequity – we will never fully know and could debate until the next ice age. It is the twisted confluence of these interests which drive the abuse of power over the average joe that gets us here.

If someone wishes to comment, please don’t expect a response from me, as I’ll take Derek’s approach and let you have the debate.

Derek, thanks for providing an opportunity to see what you have and to respond to it.

I think we are in more agreement than you would think. The older I get the more I believe a large government can do more bad than good. I think the reason why this is such an impossible issue to resolve is because damage has been done for such a long period of time.

I agree with you that one of the issues is special interests and those special interests don’t only include the super rich. Basically everyone who has power is abusing it. Whether those people be the super rich, union members, those in control of regulating others, or the politicians. As a small business owner I have no interest in receiving help from anyone. I do however understand the plight of those who live in poverty. I used to run a business in the poorest neighborhood in my city for over 2 years. What I learned is that most people there see no option but to commit crimes. Here is the logic of a drug dealer I met:

1. I don’t know how to do anything, but sell drugs and when I was younger nobody forced me into training that would get me a job.
2. If I get caught and thrown in jail, this is an opportunity to learn. ( He considered jail not as rehabilitation, but as a training facility )
3. When he got out of jail he either had the option to work a minimum wage job, or go back to sell drugs and making \$60,000 a year
4. He considered the worst that could happen to him is that he would get sent back to jail for more training

I’ve talked to union workers that explain how when they get a state job that means their salary doubles. So, in their common sense way of seeing things, that means they should take as long as possible to complete that project.

I’ve talked to millionaires that just see their employees as helpless without them. These business owners lose money month by month and after a while they build a bitterness towards those workers that aren’t helping to keep the business a float. After a while they start to think that everyone is lazy and that is the only reason why they aren’t successful. They start to see those who aren’t millionaires as being beneath them.

When you look through their eyes you can see the common sense of their positions. At least I can, but I’ve always been able to relate to peoples points of views even if at first I disagreed with them.

So, yes I’m sure people at every level people of at all levels are at fault with were we are. I think the problem is that they are not educated. I’ve been down on my luck many times, but luckily my thirst for knowledge always gave me the ability to find work. Most people don’t seem to have this thirst. I’ll be honest, I don’t understand what people do with their lives for the most part?

The sad part is that I think everyone could be happy if they just aimed to be happy. I was at fault for not doing this. Before I was enlightened I was running a business that required me to work from 6am to 2am 6 days a week. One night I drove off the road because of tiredness and sickness. That was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. I then aimed to take control of my life. To create things once that paid me over and over again. Now I have no want of money after just 4 years. I could and have offered to teach others what I did for free, but I don’t believe I’ve had a single taker? (I don’t sell a program, but instead give away my shopping cart tools for free.)

So either way, I feel will be asking ourselves these same questions years from now. I think the major problem is that children aren’t lead or forced to get the skills they need to succeed? I think crony capitalism will continue because people would rather fight for their piece of the pie rather than fix things. Either way it was nice to hear your thoughts.

I have no idea how to fix anything, but at least I’ve figured out how to make myself happy 🙂