Political  Calculations
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Where do you stack up in the distribution of income within the United States?

We can help you answer this question using the data that the U.S. Census Bureau has collected on the total money income earned by individual Americans, as well as for the families and households into which Americans gather themselves!

If you're a visual person, we'll first present the information graphically in chart form and then we'll present a tool where you can get a more precise estimate of what your percentile ranking is within each of these groups. In the charts below, first find the income that applies for you on the horizontal axis, then move directly upward to the curve that defines the cumulative distribution of income. Once you've found your place on S-shaped curve in each chart, look directly to the vertical scale on the left hand side of the chart to determine your approximate U.S. income percentile ranking.

The first chart applies for individual Americans, which includes all people Age 15 or older who received some kind of money income on a regular basis, say from full-time jobs or Social Security benefits, but not for things like food stamps, health benefits, housing assistance, capital gains, etc.. With that being the case, the Census Bureau's data tends to understate the amount of effective income that Americans have, especially at the lower end of the income spectrum:

Cumulative Distribution of Income for U.S. Individuals, 2012

Our second chart shows how the distribution of income changes when individual Americans are grouped into families, which the Census Bureau defines as being a "group of two people or more (one of whom is the householder) related by birth, marriage, or adoption and residing together":

Cumulative Distribution of Income for U.S. Families, 2012
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Political Calculations

Political Calculations is a site that develops, applies and presents both established and cutting edge theory to the topics of investing, business and economics.

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