What is the average salary in the US by age?

1 min readLast updated December 7, 2023by Rachel Carey

We’ve looked at the detailed nationwide information collated by the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS), including salary rates, to reveal the statistics and help you understand how well your pay has been keeping pace.

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Summary

  • 45-54-year-olds in the US earn the highest amount, with their media annual income coming in at just over $64,000.

  • The lowest earners in the US are 16-19-year-olds, with a median annual income of over $31,000.

  • The biggest jump in salaries comes between the age brackets of 20-24 and 25-34.

  • The media average yearly earnings for retirees is just over $54,000. This is a $9,000 drop from their earnings in the previous age bracket.

What is the average salary by age in the US?

As you progress through your career and the years pass, you may wonder how your salary compares with your peers. Comparing median salaries by age group is a good way to do it.

Below is a table showing the median weekly and annual pay of full-time workers aged 18 and above based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Age rangeMedian weekly earningsMedian annual earnings
16-19 $611 $31,772
20-24 $737 $38,324
25-34 $1,018 $52,936
35-44 $1,233 $63,596
45-54 $1,239 $64,428
55-64 $1,218 $63,336
65 and older $1,042 $54,184

Average v median: what’s the difference?

The BLS national salary statistics reveal the median salary in each age group. These stats give a better reflection of the salary breakdown as the median describes a salary point that is in the middle of the scale, with half of workers below, and half above.

This simple yardstick is used because when you start using the average, the stats can get very distorted by the highest salaries. These are so atypical that the data becomes misleading and doesn’t reflect an accurate picture of income levels.

How can I increase my salary?

The stats show that as you get older your salary tends to increase. But, if you want to accelerate that process here are six tried and tested ways to increase your earning power.

Making sure you work on some of these key elements ahead of submitting your raise request will demonstrate just how valuable you are to your employer.

  • Analyze your role – Before asking for a raise, take some time to truly understand your role and the organization’s expectations of you. If you spot any gaps between what you’re doing and what you believe is expected of you, work on them. You could sit down with your line manager or supervisor and focus on the key priorities of your role. With a clear picture established, you can begin to develop unique skills. These strengths will show that you bring something special to the table and deserve a higher salary.

  • Get more qualifications Gaining additional relevant qualifications will broaden your skillset and make you a more valuable employee. As a formally trained employee, you’re offering theoretical expertise alongside experience. This combination provides a strong case for a raise.

  • Perform consistently – Aim to exceed expectations in your current role. Get your performance noticed and be consistently good at what you do. It’s proof that you’re capable of taking the increased workload that often comes with a higher salary.

  • Welcome extra responsibility – When you’re eager to take on more responsibilities, it’s a clear indicator that you’re ready to move up. People who are happy to handle more work or pressure can justifiably ask for more money.

  • Target great performance reviews – Always aim for an excellent performance review – they are the official markers of your progress within the organization. If you can demonstrate you’re skilled, eager, and have way more to give, you’re a prime candidate for promotion and a pay raise. 

  • Maintain good relationships – You can be brilliant at your job, but if your relationships with colleagues and others within your organization aren’t up to par, it will be tough to negotiate a salary increase. Likeability probably contributes more to your earning power than you suspect. This doesn’t mean you have to be a phony – quite the opposite. Be genuine, supportive, and positive.

Alongside a range of other factors, including education level and location, the BLS data clearly shows that your age places a factor in your paycheck. This is unsurprisingly considering the further along in your career the more money you are likely to earn.

Equipped with this overview of salaries and the vital tips for arguing your case you should be able to negotiate your next raise with confidence.

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Senior Content Writer

Rachel Carey

Rachel is a Senior Content Writer at Unbiased. She has nearly a decade of experience writing and producing content across a range of different sectors.

Want to make your salary go further?

A financial advisor can help you develop a financial plan to meet your goals.