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How to Compare Your Form W-2 Wages to Others by Age (Without Being Rude)

Everyone likes to compare themselves to others—it’s basic human nature. But sizing up wages doesn’t make for polite conversation. In fact, it’s taboo. Faced with this, some people try to rank themselves indirectly, such as by trying to outspend their neighbors. This can produce great unhappiness (but at least it produces happy retailers).

If you could compare your wages to others without making impolite conversation or spending any money, would you do it?

If your answer is “yes,” then you’ve come to the right place. Through the magic of statistics, you can see how your Form W-2 wages stack up against everyone else—and best of all it’s free!

Statistics of Income Program

Each year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) collects random individual returns and places them into broad categories called “strata.” There are strata for different income ranges, age groups, and filing statuses (single, head of household, etc.). The IRS reports the resulting data in its Statistics of Income (SOI) program. The SOI analyzes W-2 forms in a review known as the “Individuals, Form W-2 Tabulations Program.” The latest available W-2 program uses tax returns for the year 2013 and draws from a sample size of 332,040 returns. See Statistics of Income—2013, Individual Tax Returns, Description of Sample at Table B.

This post reports W-2 wage percentiles in two different formats: (1) an online interactive calculator; and (2) a single table that shows how you stack up against all wage filers and different age groups. Both formats use the same reported SOI percentile figures as expanded by a process of linear interpolation. Because wages have remained stable in recent years, the most recent SOI W-2 data for 2013 should be reliable within a few percentile points as applied to your current earnings. However, if you seek a strict 2013-to-2013 data comparison, input your W-2 wages for 2013.

W-2 Wage Ranking Calculator

To use the calculator, simply enter your W-2 wages as reported on Box 1 of your Form W-2, select your age group from the drop-down menu, and click the “Show Percentiles!” button. As is the case with all calculators on this site, any information you enter is completely confidential. Nothing you enter is recorded  or stored.

My W-2 Wages:   $

My Current Age:  


∙ Your W-2 wage ranking among all W-2 recipients will appear in this space.

∙ Your W-2 wage ranking among all W-2 recipients in your age group will appear in this space.

W-2 Wage Ranking Table

Instructions: Using the first column, find whichever row reports the amount of W-2 wages that is closest to but not over the amount reported on Box 1 of your Form W-2.

To find out where you rank among all Form W-2 recipients, keep in the same row and look at the percentile reported in the next column to the right.

To find out where you rank among all Form W-2 recipients in your age group, keep in the same row and look at the percentile reported in whichever age-range column matches your current age.

W-2 All W-2s Under 26 26-34 35-44 45-54 55-59 60-64 65 & Over
Wages Percentile Percentile Percentile Percentile Percentile Percentile Percentile Percentile
$5,000 10.01% 24.56% 6.92% 5.45% 4.75% 5.29% 9.25% 21.71%
$10,000 18.92% 45.77% 14.32% 10.93% 9.80% 10.40% 16.18% 34.08%
$15,000 27.31% 61.49% 22.65% 16.79% 15.43% 16.24% 23.33% 45.48%
$20,000 35.45% 73.49% 31.69% 23.46% 22.06% 22.69% 30.15% 53.90%
$25,000 43.23% 82.27% 41.15% 30.33% 29.23% 29.94% 36.66% 60.63%
$30,000 50.44% 88.10% 50.46% 37.70% 36.22% 36.91% 43.46% 65.60%
$35,000 56.63% 91.22% 58.47% 44.59% 42.70% 43.63% 86.93% 69.80%
$40,000 62.82% 94.35% 66.48% 51.48% 49.18% 50.35% 56.27% 73.99%
$45,000 67.70% 95.83% 72.29% 57.40% 55.02% 55.96% 61.33% 77.07%
$50,000 72.58% 97.31% 78.11% 63.32% 60.87% 61.57% 66.40% 80.14%
$55,000 75.39% 97.74% 80.79% 67.00% 64.63% 65.24% 69.62% 82.00%
$60,000 78.20% 98.16% 83.47% 70.69% 68.39% 68.91% 72.85% 83.86%
$65,000 81.01% 98.59% 86.15% 74.38% 72.15% 72.59% 76.07% 85.72%
$70,000 83.81% 99.01% 88.84% 78.07% 75.90% 76.26% 79.29% 87.57%
$75,000 86.62% 99.44% 91.52% 81.76% 79.66% 79.93% 82.51% 89.43%
$80,000 87.86% 99.52% 92.47% 83.47% 81.45% 81.70% 84.01% 90.23%
$85,000 89.09% 99.61% 93.43% 85.19% 83.24% 83.46% 85.51% 91.02%
$90,000 90.33% 99.69% 94.38% 86.91% 85.02% 85.22% 87.01% 91.82%
$95,000 91.57% 99.78% 95.33% 88.62% 86.81% 86.98% 88.50% 92.62%
$100,000 92.80% 99.86% 96.29% 90.34% 88.60% 88.75% 90.00% 93.41%
$110,000 93.36% 99.87% 96.61% 91.10% 89.46% 89.61% 90.76% 93.88%
$120,000 93.92% 99.88% 96.94% 91.86% 90.32% 90.47% 91.51% 94.35%
$130,000 94.48% 99.90% 97.27% 92.62% 91.18% 91.33% 92.27% 94.82%
$140,000 95.04% 99.91% 97.59% 93.38% 92.04% 92.19% 93.02% 95.29%
$150,000 95.59% 99.92% 97.92% 94.14% 92.90% 93.05% 93.78% 95.75%
$160,000 96.15% 99.93% 98.24% 94.90% 93.75% 93.91% 94.53% 96.22%
$170,000 96.71% 99.95% 98.57% 95.66% 94.61% 94.77% 95.29% 96.69%
$180,000 97.27% 99.96% 98.90% 96.42% 95.47% 95.63% 96.04% 97.16%
$190,000 97.83% 99.97% 99.22% 97.18% 96.33% 96.49% 96.80% 97.63%
$200,000 98.39% 99.98% 99.55% 97.94% 97.19% 97.35% 97.55% 98.10%
$250,000 98.61% 99.98% 99.61% 98.23% 97.58% 97.70% 97.89% 98.35%
$300,000 98.83% 99.99% 99.68% 98.53% 97.97% 98.05% 98.23% 98.61%
$350,000 99.06% 99.99% 99.75% 98.82% 98.36% 98.41% 98.57% 98.86%
$400,000 99.28% 99.99% 99.82% 99.12% 98.75% 98.76% 98.90% 99.11%
$450,000 99.51% 99.99% 99.88% 99.41% 99.13% 99.11% 99.24% 99.37%
$500,000 99.73% 99.99% 99.95% 99.70% 99.52% 99.46% 99.58% 99.62%
$1,000,000 99.93% 99.99% 99.99% 99.93% 99.87% 99.85% 99.87% 99.88%
$1,500,000 99.96% 99.99% 99.99% 99.97% 99.93% 99.93% 99.94% 99.94%
$2,000,000 99.98% 99.99% 99.99% 99.98% 99.96% 99.95% 99.96% 99.96%
$5,000,000 99.99% 99.99% 99.99% 99.99% 99.99% 99.99% 99.99% 99.99%
$10,000,000 99.99% 99.99% 99.99% 99.99% 99.99% 99.99% 99.99% 99.99%

Source: IRS SOI Tax Stats—Individual Information Form W-2 Statistics, Wage Statistics Table 1.C

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