State of the Middle Class

Household Finances

Change in Household Income & Major Expenses, 1970 - 2020 (Inflation-Adjusted 2020 USD)

Household Income BracketsHousehold Expenses
YearTop 5%Next 15%Middle 60%Bottom 20%Average Household Health CareAverage Tuition and FeesMedian Housing Value
% Change101%59%24%10%311%202%115%

Average U.S. Income by Education Attainment (Inflation-Adjusted 2021 USD)

YearLess Than High SchoolHigh School DegreeBachelor's and Advanced Degree
Q2 202233,76041,06175,802

U.S. Average Compensations by Industry - 2022

IndustryAverage Annual PayEstimated Annual Fringe BenefitsTotal Annual Compensation
Transport Manufacturers$68,468.40$19,497.19$87,965.59
Primary Metal Manufacturing$62,617.20$20,476.72$83,093.92
Chemical Manufacturing$62,514.97$19,450.55$81,965.52
Machinery Manufacturing$55,450.98$18,890.82$74,341.80
Gas Station Employees$32,514.56$3,962.09$35,054.14
Food & Drink Cashiers$24,548.16$3,638.39$28,186.55
Food Services$21,390.10$1,767.17$23,157.26

Average Annual Wage Increases from 2010 to 2021

CountryAvg % Change

BLS Estimated Fringe Benefits ($ per Hour Worked)

Industry Total Hourly Benefits 
Manufacturing Industry 14.14 
Construction Industry 13.05 
Leisure and Hospitality 3.41 
Accommodation and Food Services 3.17 
Obtained from the Employer Cost for Employee Compensation report. Included in the cost for benefits are insurance, retirement and savings, paid leave, supplemental pay, and other legally required benefits (social security, disability insurance, Medicare, etc.)

Unemployment Rate over time in U.S.

MonthUnemployment Rate
November 20223.6
December 20223.5
January 20233.4
February 20233.6
March 20233.5
April 20233.4

Average Federal Debt per Person in the US Population (Inflation-Adjusted 2023 USD)

Year Federal Debt Per Capita
1952 $17,730
1960 $15,950
1980 $13,680
2000 $34,110
2020 $95,240
April 2023$94,035
Average Annual Wage Increases

Since 1985, China has seen significantly larger increases in their average wages earned throughout the country. This figure takes the percentage change in annual average wage growth from 2010 to 2021 and averages them, giving us an idea of how rapidly Chinese wages have grown compared to the U.S.