Average Salary Information for US Workers

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How much is the average salary for US workers? Salaries vary based on gender, education, occupation, industry, geographical location, ethnicity, and other factors. Here's information on the average salary in a variety of categories, and calculators to use to determine the salary for specific occupations.

Average Salary Information for US Workers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for workers in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2016 was $849 per week or $44,148 per year for a 40-hour work week.

 Wages were 2.9 percent higher than at the same date for the previous year, a gain of 1.8 percent.  

However, salaries can vary significantly based on both on occupation and location. For example, people working in professional, management and related occupations earned an average of $63,076 annually, while those working in service occupations only earned an average of $28, 080 annually. Jobs in large metropolitan cities which have a higher cost of living tend to pay more than jobs in more rural areas.

Average Salaries for US Men and Women

The BLS reports that for the fourth quarter of 2016, men earned a median average of $927 per week while women earned only $758 or 81.8 percent of what males earned. 

Average Salary Based on Education

Workers age 25 and over without a high school degree had median weekly earnings of $519 at the end of 2016 compared with $698 for high school graduates. College graduates with at least a bachelor's degree earned $1,270 per week.

College graduates with advanced degrees earned a median average of $1476 each week.

Median Salary vs. Average Salary

What's the difference between the average salary for a job and the median salary? The median salary (also called the midpoint) for a job is the wage at the middle of a range. Half of the workers in the United States earn below this level and half earn above it.

The average salary (also called the mean) for a job is an average of all the salaries for a specific job.

To get the average salary, you add all the salaries for a job and divide it by the number of people working at that occupation. As mentioned above, the average salary can vary based on location, the supply and demand for the job, and other factors.

How to Find the Average Salary for a Job

When you are evaluating careers or job searching, it can be useful to know what you can expect to make. It can also be a good bargaining tool, when negotiating a salary with a new employer or a pay raise with a current one, to know the average salary that others with your job title make in your geographical region. The link below provides salary profiles for a variety of different occupations, plus links to salary calculators and tools for comparing salaries and discovering how much you can earn.

Salary and Cost of Living Calculators

There are a variety of calculators you can use to find out what the average salary is for a job in your occupation and location of interest. In addition, you can use a cost-of-living calculator to determine how much it actually costs to live in a specific location.

Here a few of the most-used online calculators:

Salary.com Average Salary
Salary.com reports will give you the average salary for just about every occupation, as well as information on benefits, negotiation, and human resources issues.

PayScale.com Cost of Living Calculator
Use PayScale's Cost of Living Calculator to determine how much your current salary is worth in a new city and to compare the cost of living in two different cities.

PayScale.com Salary Calculator
Evaluate a job offer or compare your salary with equivalent positions.

PayScale.com Median Salary Chart
Use PayScale's Salary Chart to review the median salary for a variety of jobs.

Understanding the confluence of average salaries in your profession and the cost of living in any given area will provide you with the facts you need whenever you are considering applying for a new job or moving to a different geographical region.

Read More: Average Hours Per Week Worked for US Workers?