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Quiz Q: What Is the Median Income in the United States?

 
 
nimh
 
Fri 4 Apr, 2008 05:54 pm
No cheating - answer the poll first.

The actual answer, as well as the results of a survey of what people thought it was, are here on The Monkey Cage.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 5,116 • Replies: 38
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Setanta
 
  1  
Fri 4 Apr, 2008 05:58 pm
Nailed it. It helps to know the difference between median and average.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Fri 4 Apr, 2008 05:59 pm
OOps, i was right, but i marked the wrong answer in your poll . . . oh well--i was thinking 45,000-50,000.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Fri 4 Apr, 2008 06:04 pm
I got it wrong...said 30$ k, because I assumed there was a larger number of people on very low incomes who would move the median down.
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Eva
 
  1  
Fri 4 Apr, 2008 06:09 pm
That's interesting!

Now I'd like to know what the average income is. Just to see how much the ultra-high incomes have skewed these results.
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Green Witch
 
  1  
Fri 4 Apr, 2008 06:10 pm
I'm not surprised, but it doesn't say much about lifestyle. Salaries in the US are very geographical. A legal secretary in NYCity can easily make $80,000. If she moves two hours north (still NY) his\her salary for the same work would be about $30,000. In both places should s/he would be middle class. A person making the US average and living in Kentucky would be upper middle class, the same person living in San Francisco would be poor.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Fri 4 Apr, 2008 06:13 pm
You've got a good point, GW. When Japanese auto manufacturers were looking for places to open plants, and state governments were wooing them, one of the selling points of southern states was that labor costs would be less. This didn't mean the workers were being gypped, it just meant that the cost of living was much less, and people would settle for lower wages.
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Chai
 
  1  
Fri 4 Apr, 2008 06:18 pm
I hit it at $40K too.

I'm curious Nimh, what was the reason for this question?

Do you think that figure is high? Low?
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fishin
 
  1  
Fri 4 Apr, 2008 06:20 pm
I got the right answer on your poll but my orignial guess was $4K off from the actual.
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fishin
 
  1  
Fri 4 Apr, 2008 06:21 pm
Eva wrote:
Now I'd like to know what the average income is. Just to see how much the ultra-high incomes have skewed these results.


Average household income in 2004 was $60,528.
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littlek
 
  2  
Fri 4 Apr, 2008 06:22 pm
Median household income in Massachusetts is around 53,000 (as of 2004). We have a pretty high cost of living and I would guess a high salary level.

I dunno what "most recent" is and they don't say.....

Quote:

Median Household Income (most recent) by state

#1 New Jersey: $61,359.00
#2 Connecticut: $60,528.00
#3 Maryland: $57,424.00
#4 Alaska: $57,027.00
#5 Massachusetts: $55,658.00
#6 New Hampshire: $55,580.00
#7 Hawaii: $53,554.00
#8 Virginia: $51,689.00
#9 California: $51,185.00
#10 Minnesota: $50,860.00
#11 Delaware: $50,315.00
#12 Illinois: $48,953.00
#13 Rhode Island: $48,722.00
#14 Colorado: $48,198.00
#15 Washington: $47,659.00
#16 New York: $47,349.00
#17 Utah: $47,074.00
#18 District of Columbia: $46,574.00
#19 Vermont: $46,543.00
#20 Wisconsin: $45,315.00
#21 Michigan: $44,905.00
#22 Nevada: $44,646.00
#23 Wyoming: $44,275.00
#24 Georgia: $43,037.00
#25 Pennsylvania: $42,941.00
#26 Ohio: $42,240.00
#27 Indiana: $42,195.00
#28 Maine: $42,163.00
#29 Arizona: $41,995.00
#30 Oregon: $41,794.00
#31 Texas: $41,759.00
#32 Nebraska: $41,657.00
#33 Kansas: $41,638.00
#34 Missouri: $41,473.00
#35 Iowa: $41,350.00
#36 Florida: $41,236.00
#37 Idaho: $39,934.00
#38 South Carolina: $39,837.00
#39 North Dakota: $39,447.00
#40 North Carolina: $39,428.00
#41 Tennessee: $38,794.00
#42 South Dakota: $38,472.00
#43 Alabama: $36,709.00
#44 New Mexico: $36,043.00
#45 Oklahoma: $35,357.00
#46 Kentucky: $35,269.00
#47 Montana: $35,239.00
#48 Louisiana: $35,110.00
#49 Arkansas: $32,983.00
#50 Mississippi: $31,642.00
#51 West Virginia: $31,504.00
Weighted average: $44,247.80
link
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fishin
 
  1  
Fri 4 Apr, 2008 06:33 pm
littlek wrote:
Median household income in Massachusetts is around 53,000 (as of 2004). We have a pretty high cost of living and I would guess a high salary level.

I dunno what "most recent" is and they don't say.....

Quote:

*snip*


Well that makes the quiz much easier to pass! Thx teach! Razz
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Fri 4 Apr, 2008 06:36 pm
Hey! He said no cheating!
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  2  
Fri 4 Apr, 2008 06:38 pm
Eva wrote:
Now I'd like to know what the average income is. Just to see how much the ultra-high incomes have skewed these results.

Regarding the difference between median and mean/average income, the Wikipedia link in the Monkey Cage post (yes, he linked to Wikipedia) says:

Quote:
The median income divides households in the US evenly in the middle with half of all household earning more than the median income and half of all households earning less than the median household income. [..] According to the US Census Bureau, the median is "considerably lower than the average, and provides a more accurate representation." [..]

Unlike the median household income, which divides all households in two halves, the mean income is the average income earned by American households. [..] The mean income is usually more affected by the relatively unequal distribution of income which tilts towards the top. As a result, the mean tends to be higher than the median income, with the top earning households boosting it.

OK, so what are the numbers?

Quote:
"In 2004 the median household income in the United States was $43,389 [while] the mean household income in the United States, according to the US Census Bureau 2004 Economic Survey, was $60,528 [..].

I.e., the mean income was "$17,210 (39.73%) higher than the median household income" - there's how much the ultra-high incomes skew the numbers.

(Again, those be 2004 numbers, as opposed to the 2006 median income number cited by the Monkey Cage.)
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Fri 4 Apr, 2008 06:39 pm
littlek wrote:
Hey! He said no cheating!


It would have been easier if you you hadn't posted the answer in the thread! Laughing
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  2  
Fri 4 Apr, 2008 06:47 pm
Green Witch wrote:
I'm not surprised, but it doesn't say much about lifestyle. Salaries in the US are very geographical. A legal secretary in NYCity can easily make $80,000. If she moves two hours north (still NY) his\her salary for the same work would be about $30,000. In both places should s/he would be middle class. A person making the US average and living in Kentucky would be upper middle class, the same person living in San Francisco would be poor.


Also from that Wikipedia page:

Quote:
The state with the highest median household income in the United States as of the US Census Bureau 2005/06 is New Jersey with $66,752, followed by Maryland, Hawaii and Connecticut, making the Northeastern United States the wealthiest area by income in the entire country.

In terms of region the median household income was as follows: "Northeast ($47,994), West ($47,680) and South ($40,773)." Median household income in the Mid-West declined by 2.8% to $44,657.


More specifically, it has a table with the median household income by state, which in the text is summarised as follows:

Quote:
The median household income by state ranged from $34,343, or 28% below national median, in Mississippi to $66,752, or 39% above national median, in New Jersey. Connecticut [..] came in at number four with a median household income of $60,551. California which had the highest median home price in the nation, [..] only ranked eleventh with a median household income of $54,385. [..] West Virginia, which had one of the nation's lowest median household incomes also had the nation's lowest median home price.

The northeastern states, more specifically those located in New England, as well as the West Coast had the highest median household income. Of the top fifteen states, all were located in the Northeast and West, with the exception of Minnesota which ranked eighth and Wisconsin (15th).

The southern states had, by far, the lowest median household income, with nine out of the country's fifteen poorest states being located in the South. It should be noted, however, that most of the poverty in the South is located in the Black Belt region. Metropolitan areas such as Atlanta, Nashville, Raleigh-Durham, Birmingham, Dallas, Houston, Miami, to name just a few, are areas within the southern states that have above average income levels.

Overall, median household income tended to be the highest in nation's most urbanized northeastern, upper midwestern and west coast states, while rural areas mostly in the southern, and mountain states had the lowest median household income.
0 Replies
 
Chai
 
  1  
Fri 4 Apr, 2008 07:11 pm
ok, what about my question dear?
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littlek
 
  1  
Fri 4 Apr, 2008 07:16 pm
fishin wrote:
littlek wrote:
Hey! He said no cheating!


It would have been easier if you you hadn't posted the answer in the thread! Laughing


The SECOND page of the thread!
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  2  
Fri 4 Apr, 2008 07:49 pm
Chai wrote:
ok, what about my question dear?

Why I posted this thread? Curiosity... I'm a geek. Read about Professor Sides' research and thought, hey, lemme try a survey like that on A2K.

Of course you cant really, cause here you're stuck with 10 poll options, and the way you categorise the possible answers already pulls people to a certain answer, so it's not as good. But I had to try. Smile

People's perceptions of what a "normal" income is tends to vary widely, at least what I've come across. So I was kinda pleasantly surprised by the results of Sides' and his colleague's survey. Sure, rich people thought the median income was higher than what poor people expected it to be, but the differences werent that big - at least, not on average.
0 Replies
 
Eva
 
  1  
Fri 4 Apr, 2008 07:51 pm
Thanks, nimh! That's exactly what I wanted to know.
0 Replies
 
 

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