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Compare Your Adjusted Gross Income to Others by Age and Filing Status [Using 2012 IRS Data]

Note: this post updates an earlier article dated August 15, 2014 which used 2011 data published under the IRS Statistics of Income (SOI) program. Since then, the IRS has released its 2012 data so the time is ripe to revisit this topic using the latest available statistics. If you so desire, you can also review 2013 SOI data in this newer article dated October 14, 2015.

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

If you could compare your income 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 income stacks up against everyone else—and it doesn’t cost a penny.

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 latest SOI uses tax returns for the year 2012.

The SOI reports income as Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). On your tax return, AGI represents your gross income from all sources minus certain reductions such as alimony payments or student loan interest. On Form 1040, the AGI appears on the last line of the first page.

Congress sometimes alters the way AGI is calculated, but there have been no big changes since 2012. So if you want to compare your 2013 tax return to the 2012 SOI, go ahead. Because wages have remained stable, the 2012 data should be reliable within a few percentile points. If you want a stricter apples-to-apples comparison, use your 2012 tax return.

This post divides the latest SOI data into five tables. Each table lists the IRS’s reported AGI percentile figures as expanded by a process of linear interpolation.

Enjoy your data feast!

Table 1: 2012 SOI Based Upon All Returns and Filing Status

Let’s introduce this first table with the example of Jane Dough, a unmarried filer who is 29 years old with an AGI of $46,329. To see her ranking, Jane simply scrolls down the “AGI” column until she reaches $45,000, which is the dollar figure nearest to but not over her own AGI. The corresponding number in the next column, the “All Returns” column, reports that Jane’s AGI ranks at least in the 60.38th percentile of all tax returns filed. If she looks over to the next column for single filers, she sees that she ranks at least in the 78.08th percentile. Her ranking among “Singles” is higher than her “All Returns” ranking because the SOI data for singles doesn’t include dual income households. If Jane’s filing status had been Married Filing Jointly (MFJ) or Head of Household (HOH), she would have referred to those columns. Here’s the table:

If your AGI is at least x dollars, then you are in the y percentile

AGI All Returns Singles MFJs HOHs
$0 1.47% 1.94% 1.21% 0.37%
$5,000 8.63% 15.21% 2.59% 3.27%
$10,000 16.88% 28.58% 4.61% 11.61%
$15,000 25.60% 40.29% 7.65% 25.49%
$20,000 33.61% 49.80% 11.28% 39.89%
$25,000 40.63% 57.54% 15.45% 51.67%
$30,000 46.65% 64.04% 19.35% 61.35%
$35,000 51.64% 69.21% 23.21% 68.23%
$40,000 56.63% 74.37% 27.07% 75.10%
$45,000 60.38% 78.08% 30.62% 79.14%
$50,000 64.13% 81.80% 34.17% 83.18%
$55,000 66.75% 83.82% 37.74% 85.21%
$60,000 69.37% 85.84% 41.31% 87.25%
$65,000 71.99% 87.86% 44.88% 89.28%
$70,000 74.61% 89.88% 48.45% 91.31%
$75,000 77.23% 91.90% 52.02% 93.34%
$80,000 78.90% 92.70% 55.18% 94.06%
$85,000 80.57% 93.50% 58.34% 94.77%
$90,000 82.24% 94.30% 61.50% 95.48%
$95,000 83.91% 95.11% 64.66% 96.19%
$100,000 85.58% 95.91% 67.82% 96.90%
$110,000 86.66% 96.23% 70.20% 97.15%
$120,000 87.74% 96.55% 72.59% 97.40%
$130,000 88.82% 96.87% 74.97% 97.65%
$140,000 89.90% 97.20% 77.35% 97.90%
$150,000 90.98% 97.52% 79.74% 98.15%
$160,000 92.06% 97.84% 82.12% 98.40%
$170,000 93.14% 98.16% 84.51% 98.65%
$180,000 94.22% 98.48% 86.89% 98.90%
$190,000 95.30% 98.81% 89.28% 99.15%
$200,000 96.38% 99.13% 91.66% 99.40%
$250,000 96.85% 99.24% 92.76% 99.48%
$300,000 97.33% 99.36% 93.86% 99.56%
$350,000 97.81% 99.47% 94.96% 99.65%
$400,000 98.29% 99.58% 96.07% 99.73%
$450,000 98.76% 99.70% 97.17% 99.81%
$500,000 99.24% 99.81% 98.27% 99.89%
$1,000,000 99.73% 99.93% 99.39% 99.96%
$1,500,000 99.85% 99.96% 99.66% 99.98%
$2,000,000 99.90% 99.97% 99.77% 99.98%
$5,000,000 99.97% 99.99% 99.93% 99.99%
$10,000,000 99.99% 99.99% 99.97% 99.99%

Source: http://www.irs.gov/uac/SOI-Tax-Stats—Individual-Statistical-Tables-by-Size-of-Adjusted-Gross-Income, Individual Complete Report (Publication 1304), Table 1.2

Table 2: 2012 SOI Based Upon Various Age Groups for All Returns

Table 2 reports percentiles for all returns filed within various age groups. If Jane wants to see how she ranks among all filers within her age group, she can look under the column for those aged 26 to under 35 years, where her $45,000+ AGI ranks her in at least the 68.14th Percentile. Here’s the table:

If your AGI is at least x dollars, then you are in the y percentile

AGI 18 under 26 26 under 35 35 under 45 45 under 55 55 under 65 65 and over
$0 0.77% 0.83% 0.94% 1.39% 1.93% 2.83%
$5,000 20.51% 5.24% 3.87% 4.32% 5.24% 8.75%
$10,000 42.12% 12.84% 8.55% 8.83% 9.47% 15.66%
$15,000 59.82% 22.21% 15.17% 14.29% 14.17% 24.94%
$20,000 72.68% 32.31% 22.29% 20.17% 19.27% 32.53%
$25,000 81.48% 41.26% 29.19% 26.09% 24.48% 39.22%
$30,000 87.13% 49.66% 35.53% 31.65% 29.58% 44.48%
$35,000 90.32% 56.57% 41.06% 36.71% 34.59% 48.75%
$40,000 93.50% 63.49% 46.58% 41.76% 39.61% 53.01%
$45,000 95.05% 68.14% 51.00% 46.06% 43.72% 56.54%
$50,000 96.59% 72.80% 55.41% 50.35% 47.84% 60.07%
$55,000 97.09% 75.45% 58.55% 53.56% 51.26% 62.96%
$60,000 97.60% 78.10% 61.68% 56.77% 54.69% 62.96%
$65,000 98.10% 80.76% 64.81% 59.98% 58.11% 62.96%
$70,000 98.61% 83.41% 67.94% 63.19% 61.54% 62.96%
$75,000 99.11% 86.07% 71.08% 66.40% 64.96% 74.51%
$80,000 99.23% 87.44% 73.15% 68.64% 67.32% 76.45%
$85,000 99.35% 88.80% 75.23% 70.88% 69.68% 78.39%
$90,000 99.46% 90.17% 77.31% 73.12% 72.04% 80.33%
$95,000 99.58% 91.53% 79.39% 75.36% 74.40% 82.27%
$100,000 99.69% 92.90% 81.47% 77.59% 76.76% 84.21%
$110,000 99.72% 93.51% 82.87% 79.23% 78.46% 85.38%
$120,000 99.75% 94.12% 84.28% 80.86% 80.15% 86.54%
$130,000 99.77% 94.73% 85.69% 82.49% 81.84% 87.71%
$140,000 99.80% 95.34% 87.09% 84.13% 83.53% 88.88%
$150,000 99.82% 95.95% 88.50% 85.76% 85.22% 90.05%
$160,000 99.85% 96.56% 89.91% 87.39% 86.91% 91.22%
$170,000 99.87% 97.17% 91.31% 89.03% 88.60% 92.38%
$180,000 99.90% 97.78% 92.72% 90.66% 90.29% 93.55%
$190,000 99.92% 98.39% 94.13% 92.29% 91.98% 94.72%
$200,000 99.95% 99.00% 95.53% 93.93% 93.68% 95.89%
$250,000 99.96% 99.14% 96.14% 94.72% 94.50% 96.41%
$300,000 99.96% 99.29% 96.75% 95.52% 95.33% 96.93%
$350,000 99.97% 99.43% 97.35% 96.31% 96.15% 97.46%
$400,000 99.97% 99.58% 97.96% 97.11% 96.98% 97.98%
$450,000 99.98% 99.72% 98.57% 97.91% 97.80% 98.50%
$500,000 99.99% 99.87% 99.17% 98.70% 98.63% 99.02%
$1,000,000 99.99% 99.95% 99.76% 99.54% 99.49% 99.61%
$1,500,000 99.99% 99.97% 99.87% 99.74% 99.70% 99.76%
$2,000,000 99.99% 99.98% 99.92% 99.83% 99.80% 99.83%
$5,000,000 99.99% 99.99% 99.98% 99.95% 99.94% 99.95%
$10,000,000 99.99% 99.99% 99.99% 99.98% 99.98% 99.98%

Source: http://www.irs.gov/uac/SOI-Tax-Stats—Individual-Statistical-Tables-by-Size-of-Adjusted-Gross-Income, Individual Complete Report (Publication 1304), Table 1.6

Table 3: 2012 SOI Based Upon Various Age Groups for Single Filers

Tables 3 through 5 break down the age group data according to the three major types of filing status: Single, MFJ, and HOH. Since Jane files as a single taxpayer, she uses Table 3 and ignores Tables 4 and 5. She looks under the column for those aged 26 to just under 35 years, where her $45,000+ AGI ranks in at least the 76.37th percentile of all single filers for her age group (for her age, Jane is doing very well). Here’s the table:

If your AGI is at least x dollars, then you are in the y percentile

AGI under 26 26 under 35 35 under 45 45 under 55 55 under 65 65 and over
$0 1.29% 1.25% 1.74% 2.28% 2.68% 3.45%
$5,000 28.09% 8.24% 8.50% 8.47% 8.85% 12.84%
$10,000 50.81% 18.55% 17.19% 17.07% 16.10% 22.89%
$15,000 67.01% 28.40% 25.84% 24.99% 23.75% 36.25%
$20,000 78.05% 38.41% 34.42% 32.62% 31.22% 45.89%
$25,000 85.46% 47.49% 42.47% 40.42% 38.40% 52.77%
$30,000 90.11% 56.57% 49.68% 47.47% 45.44% 58.45%
$35,000 92.65% 63.86% 56.28% 54.21% 52.50% 62.49%
$40,000 95.19% 71.16% 62.88% 60.96% 59.56% 66.54%
$45,000 96.40% 76.37% 68.04% 66.24% 64.63% 70.14%
$50,000 97.61% 81.57% 73.20% 71.51% 69.71% 73.74%
$55,000 97.98% 83.81% 76.10% 74.50% 72.98% 76.47%
$60,000 98.34% 86.04% 79.00% 77.50% 76.26% 79.19%
$65,000 98.71% 88.27% 81.91% 80.49% 79.54% 81.91%
$70,000 99.08% 90.51% 84.81% 83.48% 82.82% 84.64%
$75,000 99.44% 92.74% 87.71% 86.48% 86.10% 87.36%
$80,000 99.52% 93.61% 88.91% 87.71% 87.42% 88.53%
$85,000 99.59% 94.47% 90.12% 88.95% 88.74% 89.69%
$90,000 99.66% 95.34% 91.32% 90.19% 90.06% 90.86%
$95,000 99.74% 96.21% 92.52% 91.43% 91.38% 92.03%
$100,000 99.81% 97.07% 93.72% 92.66% 92.70% 93.19%
$110,000 99.83% 97.32% 94.22% 93.24% 93.26% 93.72%
$120,000 99.84% 97.57% 94.71% 93.82% 93.82% 94.24%
$130,000 99.85% 97.82% 95.21% 94.40% 94.38% 94.76%
$140,000 99.87% 98.07% 95.71% 94.98% 94.95% 95.28%
$150,000 99.88% 98.32% 96.20% 95.56% 95.51% 95.80%
$160,000 99.89% 98.57% 96.70% 96.14% 96.07% 96.32%
$170,000 99.90% 98.82% 97.20% 96.72% 96.63% 96.84%
$180,000 99.92% 99.07% 97.69% 97.29% 97.19% 97.36%
$190,000 99.93% 99.32% 98.19% 97.87% 97.76% 97.88%
$200,000 99.94% 99.57% 98.69% 98.45% 98.32% 98.40%
$250,000 99.95% 99.63% 98.87% 98.66% 98.54% 98.60%
$300,000 99.96% 99.69% 99.04% 98.86% 98.76% 98.80%
$350,000 99.96% 99.75% 99.22% 99.06% 98.97% 99.00%
$400,000 99.97% 99.81% 99.40% 99.27% 99.19% 99.20%
$450,000 99.98% 99.86% 99.58% 99.47% 99.41% 99.40%
$500,000 99.98% 99.92% 99.76% 99.68% 99.63% 99.60%
$1,000,000 99.99% 99.97% 99.92% 99.89% 99.85% 99.84%
$1,500,000 99.99% 99.98% 99.96% 99.93% 99.91% 99.90%
$2,000,000 99.99% 99.99% 99.97% 99.95% 99.94% 99.93%
$5,000,000 99.99% 99.99% 99.99% 99.99% 99.98% 99.98%
$10,000,000 99.99% 99.99% 99.99% 99.99% 99.99% 99.99%

Source: http://www.irs.gov/uac/SOI-Tax-Stats—Individual-Statistical-Tables-by-Size-of-Adjusted-Gross-Income, Individual Complete Report (Publication 1304), Table 1.6

Table 4: 2012 SOI Based Upon Various Age Groups for MFJ Filers

If your AGI is at least x dollars, then you are in the y percentile

AGI under 26 26 under 35 35 under 45 45 under 55 55 under 65 65 and over
$0 0.31% 0.47% 0.63% 0.98% 1.44% 2.30%
$5,000 2.45% 1.37% 1.19% 1.81% 2.75% 5.31%
$10,000 6.32% 3.13% 2.08% 3.01% 4.53% 9.43%
$15,000 14.25% 5.95% 4.23% 4.79% 6.68% 15.14%
$20,000 24.44% 10.20% 7.13% 7.34% 9.24% 20.63%
$25,000 36.83% 14.68% 10.46% 10.12% 12.29% 27.06%
$30,000 46.99% 20.00% 13.84% 12.91% 15.39% 31.90%
$35,000 56.38% 25.70% 17.11% 15.98% 18.48% 36.19%
$40,000 65.77% 31.39% 20.38% 19.05% 21.57% 40.48%
$45,000 72.20% 36.06% 23.87% 22.15% 24.78% 43.95%
$50,000 78.64% 40.74% 27.35% 25.24% 27.98% 47.41%
$55,000 81.48% 45.34% 31.05% 28.69% 31.59% 50.41%
$60,000 84.32% 49.94% 34.74% 32.13% 35.20% 53.42%
$65,000 87.15% 54.54% 38.44% 35.58% 38.80% 56.42%
$70,000 89.99% 59.14% 42.13% 39.02% 42.41% 59.43%
$75,000 92.83% 63.74% 45.83% 42.47% 46.02% 62.43%
$80,000 93.73% 66.97% 49.28% 45.89% 49.31% 65.10%
$85,000 94.63% 70.20% 52.73% 49.31% 52.60% 67.77%
$90,000 95.53% 73.43% 56.18% 52.73% 55.89% 70.44%
$95,000 96.43% 76.66% 59.63% 56.16% 59.18% 73.12%
$100,000 97.33% 79.89% 63.09% 59.58% 62.47% 75.79%
$110,000 97.58% 81.62% 65.86% 62.49% 65.18% 77.56%
$120,000 97.84% 83.35% 68.63% 65.40% 67.88% 79.34%
$130,000 98.10% 85.08% 71.40% 68.30% 70.58% 81.11%
$140,000 98.35% 86.81% 74.18% 71.21% 73.28% 82.89%
$150,000 98.61% 88.54% 76.95% 74.12% 75.98% 84.66%
$160,000 98.87% 90.27% 79.72% 77.03% 78.69% 86.44%
$170,000 99.12% 92.00% 82.49% 79.94% 81.39% 88.22%
$180,000 99.38% 93.73% 85.27% 82.85% 84.09% 89.99%
$190,000 99.64% 95.46% 88.04% 85.76% 86.79% 91.77%
$200,000 99.89% 97.19% 90.81% 88.67% 89.49% 93.54%
$250,000 99.91% 97.61% 92.06% 90.15% 90.87% 94.36%
$300,000 99.92% 98.02% 93.31% 91.63% 92.24% 95.19%
$350,000 99.93% 98.44% 94.56% 93.12% 93.61% 96.01%
$400,000 99.94% 98.85% 95.81% 94.60% 94.98% 96.83%
$450,000 99.95% 99.27% 97.05% 96.09% 96.35% 97.66%
$500,000 99.96% 99.68% 98.30% 97.57% 97.72% 98.48%
$1,000,000 99.99% 99.90% 99.51% 99.14% 99.17% 99.40%
$1,500,000 99.99% 99.94% 99.75% 99.53% 99.52% 99.64%
$2,000,000 99.99% 99.96% 99.84% 99.69% 99.67% 99.75%
$5,000,000 99.99% 99.99% 99.96% 99.91% 99.90% 99.92%
$10,000,000 99.99% 99.99% 99.98% 99.97% 99.96% 99.97%

Source: http://www.irs.gov/uac/SOI-Tax-Stats—Individual-Statistical-Tables-by-Size-of-Adjusted-Gross-Income, Individual Complete Report (Publication 1304), Table 1.6

Table 5: 2012 SOI Based Upon Various Age Groups for HOH Filers

If your AGI is at least x dollars, then you are in the y percentile

AGI under 26 26 under 35 35 under 45 45 under 55 55 under 65 65 and over
$0 0.00% 0.24% 0.30% 0.52% 0.84% 1.12%
$5,000 5.82% 3.09% 2.75% 2.75% 3.23% 4.83%
$10,000 24.39% 12.23% 9.21% 8.45% 9.46% 12.87%
$15,000 49.83% 28.76% 20.99% 18.98% 17.08% 24.56%
$20,000 70.82% 46.43% 33.69% 30.13% 27.24% 39.66%
$25,000 82.96% 60.50% 45.18% 40.55% 37.22% 47.86%
$30,000 90.67% 71.10% 55.30% 50.28% 45.97% 54.43%
$35,000 93.97% 78.42% 63.16% 57.06% 53.19% 60.41%
$40,000 97.28% 85.73% 71.02% 63.84% 60.41% 66.39%
$45,000 98.08% 88.86% 75.97% 69.00% 65.41% 70.05%
$50,000 98.88% 91.99% 80.93% 74.15% 70.40% 73.71%
$55,000 99.07% 93.20% 83.33% 77.11% 73.28% 76.77%
$60,000 99.27% 94.40% 85.74% 80.07% 76.16% 79.84%
$65,000 99.46% 95.61% 88.15% 83.03% 79.05% 82.90%
$70,000 99.65% 96.82% 90.55% 85.99% 81.93% 85.96%
$75,000 99.85% 98.02% 92.96% 88.96% 84.81% 89.03%
$80,000 99.87% 98.25% 93.79% 90.12% 86.20% 90.14%
$85,000 99.90% 98.47% 94.61% 91.28% 87.59% 91.26%
$90,000 99.92% 98.70% 95.44% 92.44% 88.98% 92.38%
$95,000 99.95% 98.92% 96.27% 93.60% 90.37% 93.49%
$100,000 99.97% 99.14% 97.09% 94.76% 91.76% 94.61%
$110,000 99.98% 99.23% 97.34% 95.16% 92.42% 95.13%
$120,000 99.98% 99.31% 97.59% 95.56% 93.08% 95.66%
$130,000 99.98% 99.40% 97.84% 95.96% 93.74% 96.18%
$140,000 99.98% 99.48% 98.09% 96.36% 94.40% 96.70%
$150,000 99.98% 99.57% 98.34% 96.76% 95.06% 97.22%
$160,000 99.98% 99.65% 98.59% 97.17% 95.72% 97.75%
$170,000 99.99% 99.73% 98.84% 97.57% 96.38% 98.27%
$180,000 99.99% 99.82% 99.09% 97.97% 97.05% 98.79%
$190,000 99.99% 99.90% 99.33% 98.37% 97.71% 99.32%
$200,000 99.99% 99.99% 99.58% 98.77% 98.37% 99.84%
$250,000 99.99% 99.99% 99.64% 98.93% 98.58% 99.84%
$300,000 99.99% 99.99% 99.70% 99.10% 98.80% 99.84%
$350,000 99.99% 99.99% 99.76% 99.27% 99.01% 99.84%
$400,000 99.99% 99.99% 99.81% 99.43% 99.22% 99.84%
$450,000 99.99% 99.99% 99.87% 99.60% 99.44% 99.84%
$500,000 99.99% 99.99% 99.93% 99.76% 99.65% 99.84%
$1,000,000 99.99% 99.99% 99.99% 99.91% 99.99% 99.92%
$1,500,000 99.99% 99.99% 99.99% 99.95% 99.99% 99.96%
$2,000,000 99.99% 99.99% 99.99% 99.97% 99.99% 99.97%
$5,000,000 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%

Source: http://www.irs.gov/uac/SOI-Tax-Stats—Individual-Statistical-Tables-by-Size-of-Adjusted-Gross-Income, Individual Complete Report (Publication 1304), Table 1.6

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2 Responses to Compare Your Adjusted Gross Income to Others by Age and Filing Status [Using 2012 IRS Data]

  1. Henry January 20, 2015 at 12:55 PM #

    This is excellent.

    However, you have an error in a couple of the tables for incomes over $100,000. The percentiles suddenly start going backwards, which obviously is impossible.

    • A Noonan Moose January 20, 2015 at 4:37 PM #

      Henry: thank you very much for pointing out my error and for doing it in such a gracious manner.

      The mistakes you mention were located in Tables 2 and 3 for reported AGIs between $110,000-$190,000. These have now been corrected.

      Thanks again for bringing this to my attention!

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