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How to Compare Your Income to Others (Without Being Rude) [Using 2013 Census Data]

Everyone likes to compare themselves to others—it’s basic human nature. But comparing your income to others is not a topic of polite conversation. This cultural bar makes complete sense. Whenever incomes are compared, inevitably someone emerges feeling at least a little inferior. No polite conversation should ever end that way.

Instead of making direct comparisons about income, some people compare in indirect ways, such as by mimicking the purchases of their neighbors. Such “keeping up with the Joneses” is expensive and adds little to a person’s happiness (of course, it adds greatly to the happiness of retailers).

If you could compare your income to others without making impolite conversation or outspending your neighbors, would you do it? If your answer is “yes,” then you’ve come to the right place.

The Current Population Survey and Annual Social and Economic Supplement

Each year, the US Census Bureau asks a large number of Americans detailed questions about their annual incomes—wages, interest, dividends, alimony, child support, rents, governmental monetary benefits, etc. The latest available results of this survey, known as the 2013 Current Population Survey and Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC), were released on September 16, 2014. Surveys were sent to more than 68,000 addresses in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Individuals 15 years and older were asked to report income received during the prior calendar year from all sources except for noncash benefits such as food stamps or transportation subsidies.

The 2013 CPS ASEC reports income survey results for both households and individuals. These results are presented in two tables below. To see where you rank in the survey data (as expanded by a process of linear interpolation), simply scroll down the “Income” column until you reach the dollar figure that’s nearest to but not over your household or individual income. The corresponding number in the next column, the “Percentile” column, reports where you rank in the survey.

[UPDATE: In September 2015, the US Census Bureau released data for the 2014 CPS ASEC. To see where you rank under this latest survey, visit the updated version of this article by clicking here.]

Table No. 1: Household Income Data from the 2013 CPS ASEC

If your household had at least x dollars in income, then y percent of households surveyed made less than you

Income Percentile
$5,000 3.32%
$6,000 4.11%
$7,000 4.90%
$8,000 5.69%
$9,000 6.48%
$10,000 7.27%
$11,000 8.36%
$12,000 9.45%
$13,000 10.54%
$14,000 11.63%
$15,000 12.71%
$16,000 13.91%
$17,000 15.10%
$18,000 16.29%
$19,000 17.48%
$20,000 18.67%
$21,000 20.00%
$22,000 21.00%
$23,000 22.01%
$24,000 23.01%
$25,000 24.02%
$26,000 25.04%
$27,000 26.07%
$28,000 27.09%
$29,000 28.12%
$30,000 29.14%
$31,000 30.19%
$32,000 31.24%
$33,000 32.29%
$34,000 33.34%
$35,000 34.39%
$36,000 35.34%
$37,000 36.29%
$38,000 37.24%
$39,000 38.18%
$40,000 39.13%
$41,000 40.04%
$42,000 40.94%
$43,000 41.85%
$44,000 42.75%
$45,000 43.66%
$46,000 44.52%
$47,000 45.38%
$48,000 46.24%
$49,000 47.10%
$50,000 47.96%
$51,000 48.98%
$52,000 50.00%
$53,000 50.73%
$54,000 51.46%
$55,000 52.19%
$56,000 52.89%
$57,000 53.60%
$58,000 54.31%
$59,000 55.02%
$60,000 55.72%
$61,000 56.44%
$62,000 57.16%
$63,000 57.88%
$64,000 58.60%
$65,000 59.32%
$66,000 59.94%
$67,000 60.56%
$68,000 61.18%
$69,000 61.80%
$70,000 62.42%
$71,000 63.05%
$72,000 63.68%
$73,000 64.31%
$74,000 64.94%
$75,000 65.57%
$76,000 66.18%
$77,000 66.78%
$78,000 67.38%
$79,000 67.98%
$80,000 68.58%
$81,000 69.13%
$82,000 69.69%
$83,000 70.24%
$84,000 70.79%
$85,000 71.34%
$86,000 71.76%
$87,000 72.19%
$88,000 72.62%
$89,000 73.04%
$90,000 73.47%
$91,000 73.91%
$92,000 74.34%
$93,000 74.78%
$94,000 75.22%
$95,000 75.66%
$96,000 76.03%
$97,000 76.40%
$98,000 76.77%
$99,000 77.15%
$100,000 77.52%
$101,000 77.94%
$102,000 78.35%
$103,000 78.77%
$104,000 79.19%
$105,000 79.60%
$106,000 80.00%
$107,000 80.29%
$108,000 80.58%
$109,000 80.87%
$110,000 81.17%
$111,000 81.47%
$112,000 81.77%
$113,000 82.07%
$114,000 82.37%
$115,000 82.67%
$116,000 82.92%
$117,000 83.17%
$118,000 83.42%
$119,000 83.66%
$120,000 83.91%
$121,000 84.17%
$122,000 84.43%
$123,000 84.69%
$124,000 84.95%
$125,000 85.21%
$126,000 85.44%
$127,000 85.66%
$128,000 85.89%
$129,000 86.12%
$130,000 86.34%
$131,000 86.55%
$132,000 86.76%
$133,000 86.97%
$134,000 87.18%
$135,000 87.39%
$136,000 87.57%
$137,000 87.74%
$138,000 87.92%
$139,000 88.10%
$140,000 88.27%
$141,000 88.45%
$142,000 88.62%
$143,000 88.80%
$144,000 88.98%
$145,000 89.15%
$146,000 89.31%
$147,000 89.47%
$148,000 89.62%
$149,000 89.78%
$150,000 89.94%
$151,000 90.15%
$152,000 90.36%
$153,000 90.57%
$154,000 90.78%
$155,000 90.99%
$156,000 91.13%
$157,000 91.27%
$158,000 91.40%
$159,000 91.54%
$160,000 91.68%
$161,000 91.81%
$162,000 91.93%
$163,000 92.06%
$164,000 92.18%
$165,000 92.31%
$166,000 92.41%
$167,000 92.51%
$168,000 92.62%
$169,000 92.72%
$170,000 92.82%
$171,000 92.93%
$172,000 93.03%
$173,000 93.13%
$174,000 93.23%
$175,000 93.33%
$176,000 93.42%
$177,000 93.51%
$178,000 93.60%
$179,000 93.69%
$180,000 93.77%
$181,000 93.86%
$182,000 93.95%
$183,000 94.03%
$184,000 94.12%
$185,000 94.21%
$186,000 94.27%
$187,000 94.34%
$188,000 94.41%
$189,000 94.48%
$190,000 94.55%
$191,000 94.62%
$192,000 94.69%
$193,000 94.76%
$194,000 94.83%
$195,000 94.90%
$196,000 95.00%
$197,000 95.05%
$198,000 95.10%
$199,000 95.14%
$200,000 95.19%
$201,000 95.23%
$202,000 95.28%
$203,000 95.32%
$204,000 95.36%
$205,000 95.40%
$206,000 95.45%
$207,000 95.49%
$208,000 95.53%
$209,000 95.57%
$210,000 95.61%
$211,000 95.66%
$212,000 95.70%
$213,000 95.74%
$214,000 95.78%
$215,000 95.83%
$216,000 95.87%
$217,000 95.91%
$218,000 95.95%
$219,000 96.00%
$220,000 96.04%
$221,000 96.08%
$222,000 96.12%
$223,000 96.16%
$224,000 96.21%
$225,000 96.25%
$226,000 96.29%
$227,000 96.33%
$228,000 96.38%
$229,000 96.42%
$230,000 96.46%
$231,000 96.50%
$232,000 96.54%
$233,000 96.59%
$234,000 96.63%
$235,000 96.67%
$236,000 96.71%
$237,000 96.76%
$238,000 96.80%
$239,000 96.84%
$240,000 96.88%
$241,000 96.93%
$242,000 96.97%
$243,000 97.01%
$244,000 97.05%
$245,000 97.09%
$246,000 97.14%
$247,000 97.18%
$248,000 97.22%
$249,000 97.26%
$250,000 97.31%

Source: https://www.census.gov/hhes/www/cpstables/032014/hhinc/toc.htm, HINC-01 & HINC-06

Table No. 2: Individual Income Data from the 2013 CPS ASEC

If you individually had at least x dollars in income, then y percent of individuals surveyed made less than you

Income

Percentile
$2,500 5.49%
$3,000 6.12%
$3,500 6.76%
$4,000 7.40%
$4,500 8.03%
$5,000 8.67%
$5,500 9.47%
$6,000 10.27%
$6,500 11.07%
$7,000 11.88%
$7,500 12.68%
$8,000 13.76%
$8,500 14.85%
$9,000 15.94%
$9,500 17.03%
$10,000 18.12%
$10,500 19.26%
$11,000 20.40%
$11,500 21.54%
$12,000 22.68%
$12,500 23.82%
$13,000 24.65%
$13,500 25.48%
$14,000 26.31%
$14,500 27.13%
$15,000 27.96%
$15,500 29.04%
$16,000 30.12%
$16,500 31.20%
$17,000 32.28%
$17,500 33.36%
$18,000 34.10%
$18,500 34.85%
$19,000 35.60%
$19,500 36.35%
$20,000 37.10%
$20,500 38.12%
$21,000 39.14%
$21,500 40.16%
$22,000 41.18%
$22,500 42.20%
$23,000 42.85%
$23,500 43.51%
$24,000 44.16%
$24,500 44.81%
$25,000 45.47%
$25,500 46.30%
$26,000 47.14%
$26,500 47.98%
$27,000 48.81%
$27,500 49.65%
$28,000 50.15%
$28,500 50.65%
$29,000 51.15%
$29,500 51.64%
$30,000 52.14%
$30,500 53.04%
$31,000 53.94%
$31,500 54.84%
$32,000 55.73%
$32,500 56.63%
$33,000 57.02%
$33,500 57.40%
$34,000 57.79%
$34,500 58.18%
$35,000 58.56%
$35,500 59.25%
$36,000 59.94%
$36,500 60.63%
$37,000 61.32%
$37,500 62.01%
$38,000 62.37%
$38,500 62.73%
$39,000 63.10%
$39,500 63.46%
$40,000 63.83%
$40,500 64.56%
$41,000 65.30%
$41,500 66.03%
$42,000 66.77%
$42,500 67.50%
$43,000 67.79%
$43,500 68.08%
$44,000 68.36%
$44,500 68.65%
$45,000 68.94%
$45,500 69.45%
$46,000 69.96%
$46,500 70.47%
$47,000 70.98%
$47,500 71.49%
$48,000 71.76%
$48,500 72.03%
$49,000 72.31%
$49,500 72.58%
$50,000 72.85%
$52,500 75.93%
$55,000 76.99%
$57,500 78.63%
$60,000 79.39%
$62,500 81.66%
$65,000 82.35%
$67,500 83.71%
$70,000 84.36%
$72,500 85.80%
$75,000 86.40%
$77,500 87.61%
$80,000 88.12%
$82,500 89.29%
$85,000 89.73%
$87,500 90.42%
$90,000 90.73%
$92,500 91.46%
$95,000 91.77%
$97,500 92.19%
$100,000 92.48%
$105,000 92.98%
$110,000 93.48%
$115,000 93.98%
$120,000 94.48%
$125,000 94.97%
$130,000 95.47%
$135,000 95.97%
$140,000 96.47%
$145,000 96.97%
$150,000 97.47%
$155,000 97.60%
$160,000 97.73%
$165,000 97.86%
$170,000 97.98%
$175,000 98.11%
$180,000 98.24%
$185,000 98.37%
$190,000 98.50%
$195,000 98.63%
$200,000 98.76%
$205,000 98.81%
$210,000 98.86%
$215,000 98.91%
$220,000 98.96%
$225,000 99.01%
$230,000 99.06%
$235,000 99.11%
$240,000 99.16%
$245,000 99.21%
$250,000 99.26%

Source: https://www.census.gov/hhes/www/cpstables/032014/perinc/toc.htm, PINC-01 & PINC-11

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4 Responses to How to Compare Your Income to Others (Without Being Rude) [Using 2013 Census Data]

  1. debs @ debt debs September 22, 2014 at 12:54 PM #

    90% again! But I’m a perfectionist so I’m never satisfied. 😉
    debs @ debt debs recently posted…Frugal FinCon Fiesta – Ask me AnythingMy Profile

    • A Noonan Moose September 22, 2014 at 2:12 PM #

      Congrats DD!

  2. carol July 14, 2015 at 5:00 PM #

    is this adjusted gross income or just total gross income (salary, dividends, pension income, 401k contributions, etc)?

    • A Noonan Moose July 20, 2015 at 5:55 AM #

      This calculator addresses total gross income. To see how you stack up in terms of adjusted gross income (AGI), click here.

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