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Apr 26, 2023

The question, “How much do Americans earn?” seems simple. But there are so many moving parts below the surface that there is no single answer. For example, by “earn” do we mean “money from a job” or are we including interest income. What about Social Security retirement benefits? What about government welfare benefits? When we say “Americans” do we mean individual workers, or families, or households? When we say “How much” do we mean the average number or the median?

Foolishness of the week: 02:43
Main episode: 06:00

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Quick Hits

Foolishness of the Week

Episode Topic
(Numbers are for 2021)

Personal income: Income earned by all people from all sources
Median personal income: $38,000
Mean personal income: $57,000

Usual Full-Time Earnings: Wages and salaries earned by workers who are employed full-time
Median usual earnings: $56,000

Family income: Income earned from all sources by households of two or more related people
Median family income: $89,000
Mean family income: $121,000

Household income: Income earned from all sources by households of one or more people
Median household income: $71,000

Market income: Household income earned from market activities only
Median market Income: $64,000

Per-capita GDP: All the income generated in the economy divided by the population
Per-capita GDP: $70,000

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