These state have the highest average pay


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Whether you’re deciding on a new career path or wondering whether you’re being paid enough, it can help to know what the typical American worker earns per year.

Based on the latest data available from the Social Security Administration (SSA), the average annual pay in the U.S. in 2021 was $60,575 — an 8.89% jump from the previous year. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates the average worker made closer to $67,610 that same year. The amount you make may depend on a number of factors, including your occupation, where you live, your gender, and your level of education.

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Key Findings

Let’s take a closer look at how the average annual pay in the U.S. has changed over a three-year period based on data from both the SSA and BLS.

key findings

It can also be helpful to look at median earnings, which represent the midpoint of salaries in the U.S. In other words, half of the salaries fall below the median, and half are higher than the median.

The following table shows the median annual salary for a three-year period.

median annual salary

As you can see, average and median incomes have risen each year. However, average salaries can be affected by various factors such as your occupation, age, and gender. Note that the numbers above also don’t include unearned income.

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Examples of High-Salary Jobs in the US

Some industries tend to pay more than others, which means the career you choose may affect how much you earn. Here’s a sampling of high-paying jobs and their average annual salary, according to the BLS:

  • Cardiologist, $353,970 per year
  • Dentist, $177,770
  • Aircraft pilots and flight engineer, $169,540
  • Lawyer and judicial law clerk, $146,220
  • Public relations manager, $138,000
  • Air traffic controller, $127,920

Image Credit: Drazen Zigic/istockphoto.

Average American Income by Occupation

While salaries tend to vary based on geography, seeing how much certain types of jobs pay can be informative. Let’s take a look at different occupations and how much they typically pay.

salary by occupation

Keep in mind that average salaries may differ depending on the specific occupation you have. For example, although claims adjusters fall under the business and financial operations category, their average salary is around $70,960.

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US Income by Gender

Demographics, specifically gender, are another factor to consider. By and large, men tend to outearn women throughout their career. The median annual salary for a 16- to 24-year-old man is $33,800; a woman of the same age earns $31,460, per the latest data available from the BLS. Likewise, the median annual salary for a man aged 25 and older is $60,320; a woman of the same age earns $49,608.

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Median Income by State

Wages often vary based on where you live. In many cases, states with higher costs of living also have higher wages. For example, the median annual income in Hawaii is $100,532 — much higher than Mississippi’s median annual income of $61,205.

Below is the median income by state for a household of three people, according to data compiled by the Census Bureau between April 1 and May 14, 2022.

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Average pay: $70,250

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Average pay: $108,072

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Average pay: $79,110

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Average pay: $70,169

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Average pay: $97,092

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Average pay: $100,744

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Average pay: $108,409

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Average pay: $96,841

Image Credit: DenisTangneyJr/istockphoto.

District of Columbia

Average pay: $138,342

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Average pay: $75,057

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Average pay: $79,980

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Average pay: $100,532

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Average pay: $76,635

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Average pay: $97,067

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Average pay: $81,783

Image Credit: Ying Luo/500px/Getty Images.


Average pay: $85,758

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Average pay: $88,369

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Average pay: $71,501

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Average pay: $71,371

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Average pay: $87,051

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Average pay: $113,994

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Average pay: $117,415

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Average pay: $84,245

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Average pay: $106,445

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Average pay: $61,205

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Average pay: $79,652

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Average pay: $91,076

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New Hampshire

Average pay: $113,013

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Average pay: $91,076

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New Jersey

Average pay: $117,697

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New Mexico

Average pay: $66,183

Image Credit: Sean Pavone/istockphoto.

New York

Average pay: $96,854

Image Credit: TriggerPhoto / istockphoto.

North Carolina

Average pay: $76,386

Image Credit: Mark Howard/istockphoto.

North Dakota

Average pay: $94,950

Image Credit: DenisTangneyJr/istockphoto.


Average pay: $82,734

Image Credit: Sean Pavone/istockphoto.


Average pay: $71,397

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Average pay: $93,773

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Average pay: $92,441

Image Credit: Sean Pavone/istockphoto.

Rhode Island

Average pay: $101,104

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South Carolina

Average pay: $75,128

Image Credit: SeanPavonePhoto/istockphoto.

South Dakota

Average pay: $87,475

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Average pay: $75,394

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Average pay: $80,733

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Average pay: $90,629

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Average pay: $92,628

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Average pay: $102,869

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Average pay: $104,644

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West Virginia

Average pay: $71,757

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Average pay: $92,586

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Average pay: $88,902

Image Credit: DenisTangneyJr/istockphoto.

US Income by Race

As the BLS data below shows, there is often a pay disparity among workers of different races and ethnicities.

  • Asian, $69,056 per year
  • White, $52,936
  • Black or African American, $41,652
  • Hispanic or Latino, $40,404

Image Credit: Sanja Radin/istockphoto.

How Does Your Income Stack Up?

Now that you’ve seen some of the average and median annual salaries by occupation, location, gender, and race or ethnicity, how does yours compare? If you’re not making as much as you’d like, you may want to research wages in your industry and region, and use that information to help you negotiate a higher salary. If you’re ready to make a bigger change, you can use this data as you consider whether to switch to a more lucrative field or relocate to a higher-paying region.

Image Credit: skynesher/istockphoto.

How to Stretch Your Income

Here are some different strategies to help you make the most of the money you make:

Track Your Spending

Understanding exactly where your money is going can help you keep tabs on where your money is going and identify areas where you can cut back. Consider using a spending app to track your spending and saving.

Negotiate Bills

Want to lower monthly expenses, such as your cell phone or internet services? Consider calling up various providers to see if you’re able to get a better deal or if there are promotions you can take advantage of.

Cut Back on Large Expenses

Housing, food, and transportation tend to be the largest line budget items. Explore ways to trim your biggest costs. Examples include refinancing your mortgage, negotiating your rent, shopping at discount grocery stores, and taking public transportation when possible.

Sharpen Your Marketable Skills

Accepting networking opportunities and taking professional development courses could help you become more marketable as an employee. This in turn could set you up to earn more in the long run. If you’re on a tight budget, look into no- or low-cost ways to cultivate high-income skills, and ask your employer if there are any free resources are available.

Image Credit: RichVintage/istockphoto.

Pros and Cons of a High Salary

A high income can be great, but it does come with some downsides.


  • Improved quality of life: With more money, you can afford a higher standard of living and be able to afford different amenities such as better access to healthcare and food.
  • Financial security: The more you earn, the more you can feel secure you have enough money to afford the things you want and need.
  • Ability to achieve financial goals faster: Having more disposable income could mean you can set more money aside for long- and short-term savings goals, like retirement or going on a family vacation.


  • Higher taxes: Earning more can put you in a higher tax bracket. However, there are ways to reduce your taxable income.
  • Pressure to maintain income: If you’re accustomed to a certain living standard, you may feel like you need to keep earning the same amount or more to maintain it.
  • More work stress: In many cases, higher-paying jobs come with more responsibilities and at times, longer hours.

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The Takeaway

Understanding what the average American worker makes in a year can come in handy, especially if you’re considering a new career path, negotiating a higher salary, or looking for a new place to live. According to the latest data from the Social Security Administration, the average annual pay in the U.S. is $60,575. But the amount you earn may depend on a wide range of factors, such as the industry you work in, where you live, your gender, and your race or ethnicity.

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Communication of SoFi Wealth LLC an SEC Registered Investment Adviser. Information about SoFi Wealth’s advisory operations, services, and fees is set forth in SoFi Wealth’s current Form ADV Part 2 (Brochure), a copy of which is available upon request and at Liz Young is a Registered Representative of SoFi Securities and Investment Advisor Representative of SoFi Wealth. Her ADV 2B is available at

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