US median income growth | June 7, 2012

The median US income in 2010 dollars has grown from $21,274 in 1974 to $26,197 in 2010. The actual median income in 1974 was $5,335 but adjusted for inflation it equal to $21,274 in 2010 dollars.

The mean US income however has grown from $28,930 to $38,337 in the same period. Why is the mean larger and why has it grown by a much larger value than the median income?

Median income means that half of the people have a higher income and half  lower. The mean is calculated by taking all of the incomes and dividing by the number of people. Thus it is skewed upward by a small number of people with extremely high incomes – the 1%.

What Does ‘Economic Growth’ Mean for Americans?

Source: US Census Bureau

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