So you want to be in the top 5% of income earners?


There is always something cool about numbers in a spreadsheet. You can figure out normal for certain characteristics.

The U.S. Department of Commerce – Census Bureau has tons of tables aggregating all these characteristics across the population. For this post I will refer to table HINC-05.

Where do the top 5% live?

By percentage to the entire population (so the likeliness of running into them on the street) they are concentrated in the suburbs at 6% and in the northeast at 6.5%. Which if you think about it is obvious as the northeast is well known for high incomes. As for the suburbs, the 5% have an average age of around 50, which means when they were buying a house about 30 years ago during the continued shift to suburban life.

What is the family situation of the 5%?

The majority of the 5% is married (81.4% of the 5%, i.e. you know they are a 5%er and this is the likelihood that they are married) with both (or even more) of the couple working (76% of the 5%) fulltime (73.5% of the 5%) living in a home they own (89.1%). They are nearing at their peak earning years and beginning to worry about retirement at 45-54 years of age (30.5% of the 5%).

Finally of the 5%they are most likely to be white at (86.8% of the 5%). However, the interesting thing is that if you pick any random person of a race off the street it would actually be the those of Asian ancestry that are most likely to be in the top 5%. (9.3% of all Asians being in the top 5% vs 5.4% of Whites (including Hispanic), 2.1 of Hispanics and 1.7% of Blacks).

So what does this mean? I don’t know but numbers are fun.

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