Average Salary Information for U.S. Workers

Salary chart

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How much is the average U.S. worker's salary? Salaries vary based on gender, education, occupation, industry, geographical location, ethnicity, and other factors. Learn more information about salaries in a variety of categories and calculators to use to determine the salary for specific occupations.

Average Salary Information for U.S. Workers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median wage for workers in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2020 was $984 per week or $51,168 per year (assuming 52 weeks of work per year). Wages were 5.7% higher than a year earlier.

Salaries can vary significantly based on both occupation and location.

What's considered a good salary in one job or metro area may not be in another. For example, workers in professional, management, and related occupations earned the highest pay. In these jobs, men earned a median annual salary of $81,744, while women earned a median annual salary of $60,736. However, in service occupations, men earned a median annual salary of $37,180, while women earned a median annual salary of $30,212.

Jobs in large metropolitan cities, which have higher costs of living, also tend to pay more than jobs in more rural and suburban areas.

Salary also varies by factors such as gender, education, and more.

Average Salaries for U.S. Men and Women

The BLS reports that, in the fourth quarter of 2020, men earned a median annual salary of $55,744, while women made a median annual salary of $46,488, or 83.4% of men’s earnings.

Average Salary by Race

Race and ethnicity also play a role in salaries for men and women. For example, White women earned 82.3% as much as their male counterparts, compared with 95.7% for Black women, 74.9% for Asian women, and 91.8% for Hispanic women.

However, Black men made a median annual salary of $42,120, which is only 73.1% of what White men earned ($57,616). The difference for women was a bit less; Black women’s median annual earnings were 85% ($38,584) of White women’s median annual earnings ($45,396).

The BLS also provides information on Hispanic and Asian wage earners, who earned a median annual salary of $38,584 and $65,572, respectively.

Average Salary by Age

Salaries also varied by age, but men and women had different earnings peaks. For example, men aged 45 to 54 had the highest median annual salary ($64,064). Women, on the other hand, earned the highest annual wages between ages 45 and 54 ($51,064).

Average Salary Based on Education

The BLS data clearly reveals that completing more education pays off. Workers aged 25 and over without a high school degree had median annual earnings of $31,616 over the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to $40,612 for high school graduates without a college degree. College graduates with at least a bachelor's degree earned a median salary of $73,892 annually.

How to Find the Typical Salary for a Job

When you are evaluating careers or job searching, it can be useful to know what you can expect to make. It can also be a good bargaining tool when you are negotiating a salary with a new employer or negotiating a pay raise with a current boss.

If you know the typical salary range for your job title in your geographical region, you can use this to show why you deserve a raise or higher salary. Check out this comparative data on income in various states and cities.

Review this list of salary profiles for a variety of occupations plus links to salary calculators and tools for comparing salaries and discovering how much you can earn.

Salary Tools and Cost-of-Living Calculators

There are a variety of calculators you can use to find out what the average salary is for a job in your occupation and location of interest. In addition, you can use a cost-of-living calculator to determine how much it actually costs to live in a specific location.

Understanding the average salaries in your profession and the cost of living in any given area will provide you with the facts you need whenever you are considering applying for a new job or moving to a different geographical region.

Zippia has an interactive tool you can use to see how your earnings compare to other people the same age, sex, and education level.

Glassdoor's Know Your Worth tool provides a free, personalized salary estimate based on the current job market. Provide information about your company, job title, location, and years of experience. The tool will then tell you if you are being paid below or above your market value.

Indeed Salary Search lets you search salaries by job title and compare salaries for similar jobs at different companies and different locations. The tool also provides information on typical benefits, plus career advice and job listings.

LinkedIn Salary is a calculator that provides the median salary for jobs in specific locations throughout the U.S. It shows the median base salary as well as the median total compensation (including benefits, bonuses, and more). You can narrow your search by location, industry, years of experience, and more.

PayScale’s Cost-of-Living Calculator allows you to compare your salary in your current location to typical salaries in other locations. The calculator will show you the difference in cost of living as well as the amount you would need to make in the new location to maintain your current standard of living.

PayScale’s Salary Survey will give you salary ranges for just about every occupation. You can narrow your search by location, years of experience, and more. You can also get information about average benefits.

Salary.com Benefits Wizard allows you to calculate your total compensation package (salary plus bonuses and benefits). You can then compare your package to industry averages.

Salary.com Salary Survey lets you explore salary ranges by location, years of experience, and more. You can also get information about typical benefits and see factors that affect your pay. Salary.com also lists job openings related to your search.

Article Sources

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers Fourth Quarter 2020." Accessed March 18, 2021.

  2. Indeed Hiring Lab. "Where Salaries Go Furthest in 2019: The Small-City Advantage." Accessed March 23, 2021.