Median household income in the United States rose to $63,554 in November 2018, a 0.5% increase over the Sentier Research’s estimate of $63,220 for October 2018. The following chart shows the nominal (red) and inflation-adjusted (blue) trends for median household income in the United States from January 2000 through November 2018. The inflation-adjusted figures are presented in terms of constant November 2018 U.S. dollars.
2018 has seen a remarkably strong growth trend in median household income in the United States. In both nominal and inflation-adjusted terms, the income earned by the typical American household at the middle of the nation’s distribution of income has set new record highs in each of the last eleven months in both nominal and inflation-adjusted terms.
November 2018 saw the year-over-year growth rate of nominal median household income in the U.S. tick down from October 2018’s record high value for the monthly data series, which extends back to January 2001.
Overall, with just December 2018’s data left to be processed to close out the year, it appears that 2018 is set to become one of the best years ever for income gains for typical American households.
Closing out 2018 may be delayed because of the partial government shutdown, should it persist well into January 2019, where the federal agencies that produce the data both Sentier Research analyses and that we use in crafting our alternate estimates are both considered to be non-essential.
Our alternate estimate for median household income in November 2018 is $63,041, which falls within 1% of Sentier Research’s Current Population Survey-based estimate for the month. The methodology for the approach we’ve developed to generate the alternate median household income estimate is described here.
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.
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. [PDF Document, Online Database (via Federal Reserve Economic Data)]. Last Updated: 21 December 2018.
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. [PDF Document, Online Database (via Federal Reserve Economic Data)]. Last Updated: 21 December 2018.
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: 12 December 2018.
Sentier Research. Household Income Trends: January 2000 through May 2017, March 2018 through November 2018. [Excel Spreadsheet with Nominal Median Household Incomes for January 2000 through January 2013 courtesy of Doug Short]. [PDF Document]. Accessed 28 December 2018. [Note: We’ve converted all data to be in terms of current (nominal) U.S. dollars to develop the analysis presented in this series.]
U.S. Census Bureau. Historical Income Statistics. Table H-5. Race and Hispanic Origin of Householder – Households by Median and Mean Income: 1967 to 2017. [Excel Spreadsheet]. Accessed 5 December 2018.
Editor’s Note: The summary bullets for this article were chosen by Seeking Alpha editors