Fascinating data points in a Forbes magazine looking at "Mr. And Mrs. Median over the decades."

Median Income (Men)*

1965 $28,599
1975 $33,148
1985
$42,847
1995 $39,186
2005 $41,386

* All figures in 2005 inflation-adjusted dollars, except where noted.
Source: Census Bureau

~~~

Median Income (Women)

1965 $9,533 (33% of men)
1975 $12,697 (38% of
men)
1985 $27,720 (65% of men)
1995 $27,990 (71% of
men)
2005 $31.858 (77% of men)

Source:Census Bureau

~~~

Income Share of Middle 60% of Wage Earners

1965 52.3%
1975 52.1%
1985 50.4%
1995
47.6%
2005 46.2%

Source:Census Bureau

~~~

Household Net Worth

1965 $254,740
1975 $268,234
1985
$292,143
1995 $345,321
2005 $465,970

Source: Moody’s Economy.com

~~~

Personal Savings Rate

1965 8.5%
1975 10.5%
1985 11%
1995
5%
2005 -0.4%

Source:Commerce Department

~~~

Misery Index (Inflation Plus Unemployment)

1965 6.1%
1975 17.7%
1985 10.7%
1995
8.4%
2005 8.5%

Source: miseryindex.us

~~~

Top Federal Tax Rate

1965 70%
1975 70%
1985 31%
1995
40%
2005 35%

Source:taxpolicycenter.org

~~~

Changes in Purchasing Power

1965 -
1975 10 years: -1.3%
1985 10 years: 0.1% 20
years: -1.2%
1995 10 years: 1.8% 20 years: 1.9% 30 years:
0.6%
2005 10 years: 5.7% 20 years: 8.0% 30 year: 7.5% 40 years:
6.2%

Sources:Census Bureau, miseryindex.us

~~~

Home Ownership Percentage

1965 63%
1975 68%
1985 64%
1995
65%
2005 69%

Source: St. Louis Fed

~~~

Productivity Increases Since 1965

1965 (baseline)
1975 +24%
1985 +42%
1995
+66%
2005 +220%

Sources: Moody’s Economy.com

~~~

Percentage of Women in Workforce

1965 34%
1975 39%
1985 44%
1995
46%
2005 46%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

~~~

Compensation of CEO of largest U.S. Corporation vs. Median Household

In actual dollars for each year

1965 Frederick Donner/General Motors 3.9 million (med. household
income = 0.2%)
1975 Ken Jamieson/Exxon $469,550 (med. household income
= 3%)
1985 Clifton Garvin/Exxon $1.5 million (med. household income =
2%)
1995 John Smith/General Motors $7 million (med. household income =
0.6%)
2005 Lee Scott/Wal-Mart $19 million (med. household income =
0.2%)

Sources: Census Bureau, General Motors, Exxon Mobil, Wal-Mart

~~~

Compensation of highly paid athlete vs. Median Household

In actual dollars for each year

1965 Joe Namath/football $142,333 (med. household income =
5%)
1975 Pele/soccer $1.5 million (median household income =
0.8%)
1985 Mike Schmidt/baseball $2.1 million (median household income
= 1.1%)
1995 Michael Jordan/basketball $40 million (median household
income = 0.1%)
2005 Tiger Woods/golf $87 million (median household
income = 0.1%)

Sources: Forbes

Source:
The Average American: 1967 And Today

Tom Van Riper,
Forbes10.17.06, 6:00 AM ET
http://tinyurl.com/y9b3og

Category: Data Analysis, Economy

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

19 Responses to “The Average American: 1967 And Today”

  1. brion says:

    Pretty astonishing “productivity” gains from ’95 (up 65%) to 2005 when we turned into Robbie the Freaking Robot at 220%. Easily the freakiest # in the list and mostly attributable to the rise of the Internets yes?

  2. sport says:

    Battaglia went bullish, I believe he is Barry’s contrary indicator. He has been bearish on the way up.

  3. Robert Coté says:

    At first I thought the Top Federal Income Tax rate was by far the least useful. “Taxes” are not what the Federal govt collects on income but but all levels of govt spend and encumber. I was wrong. CEO compensation as listed is such a joke. there are CEOs with higher retirement compensation than those listed. Think Robert Toll last year and Mozillo this year and tell me Lee Scott/Wal-Mart at $19 million is representative of CEO compensation.

  4. Tancred D'Hautville says:

    Purchasing Power: “2005 10 years: 5.7% 20 years: 8.0% 30 year: 7.5% 40 years: 6.2%”

    Hmmmm … rather interesting figures, considering the US dollar has lost over 80% of its value over the past 30 years or so. Who knew?

  5. Hans says:

    One thing this article fails to highlight are the financial consquences of a disparity between increase in salary vs. incrase in real estate. It’s all rosy when one owns a property and they cheer that statistic. When it comes to purchasing a home this is probably the biggest source of unhappiness. Take a look at any larger metropolitan area these days. The required median income to afford the median home is ridiculously high. In LA metro area it might be close to 2x.

  6. muckdog says:

    Interesting info, BR. It smooths out some of the wrinkles of booms and busts while showing an uptrend in the affluence of Americans. Which is a good thing, Martha.

    The declining savings rate… It doesn’t represent capital gains, does it? I’m thinking outloud here with no charts or stats, but I wonder if as the baby boomers age and retire if they’re actually saving less because they’ve accumulated enough assets to retire?

    The other boom coming is from those who haven’t saved enough but own their homes. They’ll tap that equity via reverse mortgages. Assuming there is any equity left after the housing bust is done, of course…

  7. Leisa says:

    That household net worth seems a tad high for an average.

  8. Jim says:

    Is the household net worth the average or median?

    Looks like an average (me and Bill Gates are ,on average, very rich).

    Jim

  9. Leisa says:

    I see that it’s stating median. Cannot comprehend on Wednesdays.

  10. OkieLawyer says:

    What is the significance of CEO pay vs. median household income?

  11. George says:

    What is the significance of CEO pay vs. median household income?

    Think of it as how equitable society is. Or how stratified. As was mentioned above, I question how representative the CEO comps from one company are. And are those total compensation?

  12. teddy says:

    Mark Twain said there was 3 kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics. Concerning the above stats, median income after INFLATION, income share of the middle 60% of wage earners, and productivity growth seem to completely contradict earlier posts of stats presented here by Barry and which raised the concern of some Fed officials and former Fed chairman Paul Volcker in separate reviews. Barry can you please wade thru all this horsebleep and try to create some order out of this chaos?

  13. Trends and the Average American

    Trends: Some signficant changes: the top federal tax rate in 1975 was 70%; in 2005, it was 35%. The personal savings rate was 10.5% in 1975; in 2005, it was -0.4%. Barry Ritholtz at The Big Picture provides some data points from a Forbes magazine artic…

  14. RDR says:

    Clearly the most important correlation is that between 1965 and 2005 the percentage of women in the workforce rose from 34% to 46%; this 12% increase was accompanied by a 220% increase in productivity. Therefore we should strive to increase the percentage of women to 100% of the workforce as this would lead to a huge increase in productivity. “Truthiness” in economics. By my calculation, if a 12% increase in the percentage of women in the workforce (from 34% to 46%)leads to a 220% increase in productivity, then increasing women to 100% of the workforce will lead to a 990% increase in productivity. And with all the men at home, beer sales will rise exponentially.

  15. DavidB says:

    LOL! RDR

    You ever think about becoming and economist?

  16. DavidB says:

    so 30 years of all the money, screaming and fighting spent on the women’s lib movement was worth a 12 point bump?

    Seems a waste

  17. Lord says:

    More offshored manufacturing than the internet, I think.

    Most notably, the good data in this may be due mostly to the ageing of the workforce rather than anything they themselves have accomplished. That certainly explains the higher home ownership and greater wealth. That trend should run out of steam shortly although the population as a whole will continue to age.

  18. Dave says:

    Here at the Census site
    http://www.census.gov/population/pop-profile/dynamic/MoneyIncome.pdf
    it says the median household net worth in 2000 was $55,000. Forbes likes to see the glass half full, apparently, and uses the mean.

  19. Paul says:

    Does anyone know the net worth threshold amount to be into the top 1% of Americans? Net worth, not income, of all assets. This is a hard statistics to come by. Provide source.