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January 2018 Median Household Income

Median household income in the U.S. rose to an estimated $59,055 in January 2018, an increase of nearly 0.4% from our December 2017 estimate of $58,829. The following chart shows our estimates for the trends for both nominal (red) and inflation-adjusted median household income (blue) from January 2000 through January 2018.

In nominal terms, which provide perhaps the best indication of the relative health of the U.S. economy as seen by typical American households, we find that the pace of growth of median household income is continuing the upturn that began in September 2017, following what had been a decelerating trend that had begun back in mid-2014.

After adjusting the monthly nominal household income estimates for inflation, so that they are expressed in terms of constant January 2018 U.S. dollars, we also find "real" median household income in recent months has also continued its upward trend.

These recent trends are easier to see in the following chart, where we have presented the year-over-year growth rate of median household income in the U.S. in the period from January 2001 through January 2018.

The methodology for the approach we've developed to generate these median household income estimates is described here. In generating inflation-adjusted portion of the Median Household Income in the 21st century 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.

Analysts' Notes

Unlike last month, we didn't see any extensive revisions of the population data we use to generate our estimates of median household income. The personal income data however did have pretty minor revisions, which only affected the previous six months of data from July 2017

This article was written by

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Comments (1)

djrryan profile picture
The Median Household $59,000 income in inflation-adjusted dollars has been constant for 18 years. Really rough numbers ... 40 years of work assuming the Median household income throughout and saving 15% per year would equal $354,000. If the money were invested wisely and averaged 6% return the $88,500 saved every decade would double every 12 years ... and a rough swag of about $1,000,000 at the end of 40 years. Our hardworking family has a nice shot at living comfortably in their retirement.

This assumes the household could live on $34,000 per year after tax and savings {$59,000 - $9,000 (savings) - $10,000 (state, fed, local income tax) - $6,000 (SS + Medicare) }

Of course after paying for rent/mortgage (assume $1,500 per month), car expense (assume $500 per month), insurances (assume health, car, home of $1000 per month) & utilities (assume $200 per month) or $38,400 per year this leaves our household in a dilemma of saving for retirement or living day to day and raising kids. My guess would be we are entering an era where over half our country is facing very difficult golden years with little to no savings.
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