Unexpectedly Intriguing!
June 11, 2007

We're going to wrap up our look at how the distribution of inflation-adjusted income has changed by age group from 1995 to 2005 this week, so we thought we'd start the grand finale by looking again at the generational demographics of our income earners in both years.

We'll first look at where our age groups fall among the United States' generational divisions, going by registered births, first for 1995:

Number of Registered Births in the US, 1909-2004 (1995 Snapshot)

And 10 years later:

Number of Registered Births in the US, 1909-2004 (2005 Snapshot)

So, right off the bat you can see that there's a strong generational component behind the number of potential income-earners in each age group as they advance through time, which is in good part reflected by the number of registered births within our age ranges. The following table adds up the birth numbers, and lists the number of income earners between $0 and $95,000 (in 2004 US dollars) for both 1995 and 2005:

Age Groups and Income Earners for 1995 and 2005
Birth Year Range Age Group in 1994 Age Group in 2004 Registered Births 1994 Income Earners 2004 Income Earners
1920-1929 Age 65-74 Over Age 75 28,582,000 18,320,102 N/A
1930-1939 Age 55-64 Age 65-74 24,374,000 18,468,644 17,958,307
1940-1949 Age 45-54 Age 55-64 31,666,000 26,741,030 25,410,246
1950-1959 Age 35-44 Age 45-54 40,530,000 37,690,015 35,723,625
1960-1969 Age 25-34 Age 35-44 38,808,409 37,991,817 36,606,962
1970-1979 Age 15-24 Age 25-34 33,308,985 26,725,555 33,986,844
1980-1989 Under Age 15 Age 15-24 37,507,107 N/A 27,243,902

Note: We highlighted the number of income earners for birth years between 1970 and 1979 (specifically, 2005's Age 25-34), since this figure is actually larger than the number of registered births for those years. That's very likely a lot of immigration inflating the numbers of the domestic U.S. workforce!

In addition to the provided data, the table above also indicates why we selected the years of 1995 and 2005 for our income distribution analysis. Since the Current Population Surveys released in March of these years really reflect data captured for 1994 and 2004, and given how the CPS provides its age group breakdowns beginning with Age 15-24 (and so on), these years made a nice natural fit with the decades for when people within each age group were born!

And you thought we were going completely at random!...

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