Median Incomes Vary Greatly by Educational Attainment

One of the biggest contributors to rising inequality in America today is the growing earnings gulf between workers with college degrees and those without. Indeed, the median income for all households was $51,244 in 2011. By contrast, the median income for a household headed by a worker with a four-year college degree was $78,251, more than 50 percent above the typical household. Those with professional degrees earn more than twice the median household income.

At the other end of the scale, the median income for a household headed by a worker with only a high school diploma was nearly 25 percent less than the typical household—$39,420. The incomes of households headed by workers without high school diplomas is just half as much as the typical household and about one-third as much as someone with a college degree.

For more charts like the one below, see the second edition of our chart book, Putting a Face on America's Tax Returns.


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