Does your family make over $232,000? Congrats, you’re in the top 5 percent

September 17, 2013

Not a whole lot changed regarding median household incomes, poverty, and health insurance between 2011 and 2012. Inflation-adjusted median incomes for family households and nonfamily households in 2011 and 2012 were not statistically different; both were about 8.3 percent below 2007, before the recession. Same for earnings, the poverty rate, and the percentage of people getting private health insurance or Medicaid. The percentage of people getting Medicare increased, as did the share of people getting any kind of health insurance, but that's a normal consequence of aging.

Also unchanged was the overall distribution of income in the United States. But it is, as ever, a striking picture:

Apart from an annual tweet from Justin Wolfers, this picture doesn't get passed around a lot. But it should. If you're in a family of four, and your family's income surpasses $66,000 a year, you're doing better than the typical American family. If you're making six figures, then you're doing much better than the typical American family. If you're making $200,000 or more, you're in truly rarified territory.

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Neil Irwin · September 17, 2013