US Census

Demographics of households between $30,000 and $80,000

Part of a series of graphics about the demographics of different income groups. Click to see the lower and upper-income versions.

Graphics made in OmniGraphSketcher and Adobe Illustrator. Data from US Census Bureau, 2006–2010 American Community Survey.

Take a look at more data visualizations from my book, An Illustrated Guide to Income in the United States.

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100 years of Family Spending in the US

My first bar chart illustrates changes in family spending over the 20th century and is based on a report of consumer expenditure data and decennial census reports. This graph shows how the spending on food, clothing and housing has become a smaller percentage of the average family budget, to just over 50%. I them created a second bar chart presenting family spending data in 2009 across different income groups to show how the average family at the beginning of the 20th century was poorer relative to low-income families today when looking at spending patterns. However, this consumer data focuses on families income groups below $150,000 a year and does not tell us what the spending patterns of the top 1% (incomes above $350,000) or top 0.1% (incomes above $1.5 million)

Read Online to view all to the graphics from my book.  

These graphs were created using OmniGraphSketcher copied into Adobe Illustrator for additional annotations. 

Data Source: Dolfman, Michael L., and Denis M. McSweeney. “100 Years of U.S. Consumer Spending: Data for the Nation, New York City, and Boston.” Report no. 991, US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Which households have incomes below $30,000?

From page 62 of An Illustrated Guide to Income in the United States. Looking at the demographics of households with less than $30,000 a year in income, it looks like a number of these households are headed by retired people.

  • 33% of these households are headed by someone over 65 year or over compared to the national avg of 21%

  • 60% of the time the householder (i.e.  person who owned, rented, or maintained the housing unit) did not work for pay in 2010

  • 47% are "Owner Occupied" i.e. the person who owns the home lives there.

  • 54% Are either living alone or living with a someone they are not related to.

Also households with incomes below $30,000 are more likely to be located in rural and urban areas than the national average.

Looking at the the poverty rate by county there are concentrations of very low income households (under $23,000 for a family of four) in places like Mississippi, Texas, and South Dakota.

To look at more graphics like these read my book online.

 Data from US Census Bureau, 2006–2010 American Community Survey 

Graphics made in OmniGraphSketcher and Adobe Illustrator using MA Publisher for the map. 

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Stagnating Wages but Increasing Incomes

More excerpts from An Illustrated Guide to Income in the United States (Pages 66, 68, 69) .

In my previous post, I looked at wages, showing that for many occupations, they have not kept up with the overall growth of the economy. But what about the growing number households with incomes well above the national average of $67,500? (Focus on the orange lines/area in the 3 graphs below)

Click on the images for a closer look. This will open a lightbox the same size as the browser window.

In 1945, less than 10% of family households had incomes above $80,000 (adjusted for inflation) steadily increasing to 30% in the late 1990s. They continued to increase up until 2000 even while wages flatten or dropped.

Looking at the bottom graph, the number of family households with two earners grew and surpassed number of single earner household in the late 1960s. This growth mirrors the growth of families with $80,000 or more a year. One can easily assume that second earner in these households were women as women entered the labor force in larger numbers boosting their family's income. 

Note: Single people living alone are not included in "Family Households," bottom graph, but are included in "All Households," top graph.

In 2010, 72% of the households with income above $80,000 a year have two or more earners compared to 41% of households with income between $30,000 and $80,000. It is this increase in the number of two-earner households that accounts for household incomes increasing when wages have not. 

To learn more about Income in the US buy or read the book.


Data for households came from the US Census

US Census Bureau. “Historical Income Tables: Households.” June 2011.

US Census Bureau. “Table HINC-01. Selected Characteristics of Households, by Total Money Income in 2010.” 2012.

 (See bibliography for additional data) 


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