What really does your average joe earn in the US?
So, I did some research on the numbers.....
The published number by the US Census Bureau for the median household income for 2002 (the most recent published year) was $42,409. The mean (average) income for 2002 was $57,852.
We have to look at both of these numbers to see what this really means. Let's start with a couple definitions from the Census Bureau.
Mean (Average) income.
Mean (average) income is the amount obtained by dividing the total aggregate income of a group by the number of units in that group. The means for households, families, and unrelated individuals are based on all households, families, and unrelated individuals, respectively. The means (averages) for people are based on people 15 years old and over with income.
Median income is the amount which divides the income distribution into two equal groups, half having incomes above the median, half having incomes below the median. The medians for households, families, and unrelated individuals are based on all households, families, and unrelated individuals, respectively. The medians for people are based on people 15 years old and over with income.
The mean (average) income can be misleading. We take all the income for everyone in the US and divide it by the total number of people. This includes the incomes of people like Bill Gate, Donald Trump and others that skew the mean income.
The number to really look at is the median income. That is what the guy smack dab in the middle would make. So, your average joe 6 pack would make about $42,000 US dollars per year.
If you are interested in looking at the numbers yourself you can check them out yourself at the US Census Bureau here.
Lets look at the tax brackets. There are several brackets depending on what you earn. I could not find them for 2002 but the 2003 brackets (coutrsey of Fairmark Press) are....
$0 to $7,000 is 10%
$7,000 to 28,400 is 15%
$28,400 to 68,800 is 25%
$68,800 to 143,500 is 28%
$143,500 to 311,950 is 33%
$311,950 and up is 35%
Now this is where opinion comes into play on the upper, middle and lower income brackets. They say lower but what bracket do they mean? There are more than 3 of them. The mean and median incomes both fall in the 25% tax bracket. So, I would assume this to be "middle class" and at least the middle tax bracket. So, would that make the 10% and 15% brackets to be the lower income bracket. That is $28,400 per year and under. So, when they talk about the lower tax bracket I would assume this is what they mean. I would also take from this that the "upper middle class" is the 28% bracket and the 33% and 35% bracket are the "upper class" or upper bracket.
Now I know where I fit and how these tax incentives, cuts, and hikes apply to me. Hope you do too.