Unexpectedly Intriguing!
November 1, 2019

Median household income in the United States reached a new record high of $66,214 in September 2019, a 0.4% increase from Sentier Research's August 2019 estimate of $65,976.

The following chart shows the nominal (red) and inflation-adjusted (blue) trends for median household income in the United States from January 2000 through June 2019. The inflation-adjusted figures are presented in terms of constant September 2019 U.S. dollars.

Median Household Income in the 21st Century: Nominal and Real Estimates, January 2000 to September 2019

The year-over-year growth rate for nominal median household income in the U.S. dipped slightly from August 2019's level of 5.3% to 5.1% in September 2019, which you can see as the red line in the following chart. After adjusting for inflation, that represents a change of just 0.1%, from 3.4% in August 2019 to 3.3% in September 2019, which is shown as the blue line in the following chart.

Median Household Income in the 21st Century: Year Over Year Growth Rate, January 2001 to September 2019

Analyst's Notes

The alternate methodology we developed for estimating median household income puts its level at $65,607 in September 2019, which is within 1% of Sentier Research's estimate for the month.

The continuing growth of median household income in the United States since January 2018 has been something to behold, where we would have to go back to January 2008 to see the next-highest inflation adjusted value recorded before January 2018. The first 18 years of the 21st Century represent quite a period of stagnation for the growth of median household income in the United States, particularly during this 10 year period!

References

In generating inflation-adjusted portion of the Median Household Income in the 21st Century chart and the corresponding year-over-year growth rate chart above, we've used the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) to adjust the nominal median household income estimates for inflation, so that they are expressed in terms of the U.S. dollars for the month for which we're reporting the newest income data. Our data sources and other references are provided in the following list.

Sentier Research. Household Income Trends: January 2000 through September 2019. [Excel Spreadsheet with Nominal Median Household Incomes for January 2000 through January 2013 courtesy of Doug Short]. [PDF Document]. Accessed 30 October 2019. [Note: We've converted all data to be in terms of current (nominal) U.S. dollars.]

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. [Online Database]. Last Updated: 31 October 2019. Accessed: 31 October 2019.

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. [Online Database]. Last Updated: 31 October 2019. Accessed: 31 October 2019.

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: 110 October 2019. Accessed: 10 October 2019.

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