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November 1, 2018

Median household income in the United States increased to $63,007 in September 2018, a 0.5% increase over Sentier Research's August 2018 estimate of $62,685.

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

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

U.S. median household income continues setting new monthly records in both nominal and inflation-adjusted terms. In the latter case, September 2018 represented the ninth consecutive month of record-setting highs.

The rising trend for incomes in the U.S. is being confirmed by other data sources. The Department of Labor's employment cost index indicates that individual wages and salaries have increased by 3.1% on average in the year ending September 2018, which is the largest year-over-year increase for the last decade. Meanwhile, Sentier Research's median household income has increased by 5.5% over the same period.

Analyst's Notes

Our alternative method for estimating median household income turned in a preliminary figure of $62,678 for September 2018, which is slightly more than 0.5% below Sentier Research's Current Population Survey-based estimate for the month. Our alternate estimate is up by 0.4% from the $62,417 preliminary figure that we previously reported for August 2018.

The BEA's monthly revision of its personal income data affected data from July and August 2018, neither of which were significant.

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: 30 October 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: 30 October 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: 11 October 2018.

References

Sentier Research. Household Income Trends: January 2000 through May 2017, March 2018 through September 2018. [Excel Spreadsheet with Nominal Median Household Incomes for January 2000 through January 2013 courtesy of Doug Short]. [PDF Document]. Accessed 30 October 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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