Unexpectedly Intriguing!
October 2, 2018

According to Sentier Research, median household income in the United States rose to $62,685 in August 2018, a 0.4% increase over its July 2018 estimate of $62,450.

The following chart shows the nominal (red) and inflation-adjusted (blue) trends for median household income in the United States from January 2000 through August 2018. The inflation-adjusted figures are presented in terms of constant August 2018 U.S. dollars.

Median Household Income in the 21st Century: Nominal and Real Estimates, January 2000 to August 2018

Overall, U.S. median household income is continuing to set new monthly records in both nominal and inflation adjusted terms. In the latter case, August 2018 represented the eighth consecutive month of new record highs, where every monthly estimate since November 2017 has been both higher than the previous high mark for inflation-adjusted median household income set back in January 2016 and also higher than the previous month's estimate.

Analyst's Notes

Our alternative method for estimating median household income turned in a preliminary figure of $62,417 for August 2018, which is within 0.5% of Sentier Research's Current Population Survey-based estimate for the month. Our alternate estimate is up by 0.4% from the $62,152 preliminary figure that we had previously reported for July 2018, which we would revise upward this month to be $62,184. The BEA's monthly revision of its personal income data affected data from April 2018 through July 2018.

Data Sources

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Table 2.6. Personal Income and Its Disposition, Monthly, Personal Income and Outlays, Not Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly, Middle of Month. Population. [PDF Document, Online Database (via Federal Reserve Economic Data)]. Last Updated: 28 September 2018.

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Table 2.6. Personal Income and Its Disposition, Monthly, Personal Income and Outlays, Not Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly, Middle of Month. Compensation of Employees, Received: Wage and Salary Disbursements. [PDF Document, Online Database (via Federal Reserve Economic Data)]. Last Updated: 28 September 2018.

U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. Consumer Price Index, All Urban Consumers - (CPI-U), U.S. City Average, All Items, 1982-84=100. [Online Database (via Federal Reserve Economic Data)]. Last Updated: 13 September 2018.

References

Sentier Research. Household Income Trends: January 2000 through May 2017, March 2018 through August 2018. [Excel Spreadsheet with Nominal Median Household Incomes for January 2000 through January 2013 courtesy of Doug Short]. [PDF Document]. Accessed 25 September 2018. [Note: We've converted all data to be in terms of current (nominal) U.S. dollars to develop the analysis presented in this series.]

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