Curious how you stack up against others financially? Check out our roundup of the latest personal finance statistics in the U.S.!

Ever wonder how you stack up against others financially? For better or worse, it’s human nature to compare. While we don’t necessarily encourage that, it can be helpful to get a big picture of personal finance around the country, and where you fit into that.

Why are some stats for the same thing different?

For instance, why do different reports have different numbers for household income?

If you’re curious why there’s conflicting data, it’s because every study has different methodologies and participants. These studies didn’t all survey the same exact people at the same exact time, so it’s inevitable there will be some inconsistencies across the different reports.

Regardless, that doesn’t mean these stats are completely off-base. We wanted to collect personal finance statistics from different reports to create a more rounded understanding of the state of personal finance in the U.S.—here they are below.

Income

  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey:
    • The U.S.’s median household income was $60,336.
    • The highest median household income areas across the nation were: the District of Columbia ($82,373), Maryland ($80,776), and New Jersey ($80,088).
    • The lowest median household income state was West Virginia ($43,469).
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplements (CPS ASEC):
    • The U.S.’s median household income was $61,372.
    • The real median earnings of men working full-time and year-round was $52,146.
    • The real median earnings of women working full-time and year-round was $41,977.
  • Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the median earnings for Americans at every age bracket, with the third quarter of 2018 breaking down as follows:
    • 16-24 years: $539 weekly/$28,028 annually
    • 25 to 34 years: $820 weekly/$42,640 annually
    • 35 to 44 years: $991 weekly/$51,532 annually
    • 45 to 54 years: $1,015 weekly/$52,780 annually
    • 55 to 64 years: $978 weekly/$50,856 annually
    • 65 years and over: $924 weekly/$48,048 annually

Debt

  • According to the Northwestern Mutual 2018 Planning & Progress Study, the average American had approximately $38,000 in personal debt.
  • A 2018 study by Value Penguin found that the average American household’s credit card debt was $5,700, while the median debt was $2,300.
  • Experian’s report, “The State of Student Loan Debt in 2017,” shows:
    • 13.4% of Americans had student loan debt.
    • The average balance of student loan debt was $34,144.
    • The average American had 3.7 student loans.
    • The average American’s total debt (including mortgage, automobile, student, etc.) was $101,595.
  • Wallet Hub found that the average American household’s credit card debt in the third quarter of 2018 was $8,284.
  • According to Experian, student loan debt continued to increase for all generations from the end of 2017 to the end of 2018. In fact:
    • Generation Z had the largest increase, with a growth of 38% (from $10,203 to $14,119).
    • Millennials experienced the second-highest growth; their student student increased by 7.9% (from $32,239 to $34,770).

Savings and Retirement

Millennials

  • The results of the Northwestern Mutual 2018 Planning & Progress Study show:
    • Millennials carry an average $36,000 in debt and contribute 34% of their monthly income towards paying it off.
    • The greatest sources of this debt comes from education (21%) and credit cards (20%).
    • Meanwhile, 41% of millennials’ monthly income goes towards discretionary expenses.
  • According to a 2018 Bank of America survey, 16% of millennials (those born between 1981 and 1995) have $100,000 or more in savings.
    • The same survey found that 47% of millennials have $15,000 or more in savings.
  • Research from the National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE®) and George Washington University found that:
    • 24% of millennials show basic financial literacy while only 8% demonstrate a high level of knowledge.
    • However, 69% of millennials rated themselves highly in terms of possessing financial knowledge.

See any outdated figures or want to contribute a missing stat? Let us know in a comment below!

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