Average Salary in the US (With Demographic Data)
Updated February 16, 2023
The United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics regularly releases labor reports reflecting financial data for the year. These reports offer information about average wages and salaries in the U.S., according to multiple factors. If you're trying to figure out what impacts salaries and compensation, you can benefit from this information.
In this article, we discuss the average salary in the U.S., list the average salaries per state and for some major U.S. cities, plus explain what factors might influence compensation, as well as some of the industries and jobs projected to be in demand in the coming years.
What is the average salary in the U.S.?
Currently, there are 120.2 million full-time workers in the United States, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some of these people are compensated with an annual salary, while others work for hourly wages.
While there are significant variations in pay relative to job type, education level and social and economic factors, the average weekly pay for a person working in the U.S. is $1,070. If a person works 52 weeks in the year, then this represents a national annual salary of $55,640.
What is the average salary by state?
Both geographic location and cost of living often dictate the parameters of individual compensation and wages, and each state has its own average salary. The five states with the highest average salaries (as of March 2022) are New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, California and New Jersey. Here’s an alphabetical list of the average salaries for each of the United States, per BLS:
New Hampshire: $1,361
New Jersey: $1,606
New Mexico: $1,018
New York: $1,972
North Carolina: $1,241
North Dakota: $1,106
Rhode Island: $1,249
South Carolina: $1,043
South Dakota: $1,012
West Virginia: $968
Factors that may affect average salary
1. Geographic region
Geographic U.S. regions are areas with distinct features and characteristics that are either natural or man-made. Highly populated metropolitan cities are often industry hubs for jobs with high earning potential.
For this reason, these areas reflect unique economic statistics. Here’s a list of 10 U.S. cities and their average salaries as of May 2021, per BLS:
Houston, Texas: $57,790 per year
Atlanta, Georgia: $59,100 per year
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: $61,860 per year
Chicago, Illinois: $61,860 per year
Portland, Oregon: $64,330 per year
New York, New York: $74,150 per year
Seattle, Washington: $76,170 per year
Boston, Massachusetts: $76,850 per year
District of Columbia: $80,480 per year
San Francisco, California: $86,590 per year
2. Education attainment
According to the bureau, the level of education a person completes also contributes to differences in national average salary amounts. For example, people with a high school diploma (and no college attendance) earn an average annual salary of $45,032, while college graduates earn an average of $80,912 per year.
This represents a difference of approximately 79.7% between these two groups. Meanwhile, the top 10% of working people with advanced degrees, like master's or doctoral degrees, earn an average of $199,992 per year. Additionally, those without a high school diploma earn an average of $35,984 per year.
3. Job type
The industry or job position a person works in affects their earnings as well. Careers requiring an advanced degree, such as those in engineering or in medicine, for example, often yield annual salaries that are three to six times higher than that of the national average. While careers in teaching or skilled trades offer wages that compete with the average national annual salary of $55,640.
Further, entry-level jobs in retail or recreation regularly yield wages that are 50% lower. Here’s a list of the national average salary for six careers across different industries:
Retail sales associate ($29,180 per year): Retail sales associates, also known as retail clerks, offer face-to-face customer service and assist people in selecting purchases. They organize goods for sale, conduct inventory, replenish stock and use point-of-sale machines.
Carpenter ($48,260 per year): Carpentry is a skilled trade involving the construction or installation of buildings or structures. To become a carpenter, people regularly complete courses, certificate programs or apprenticeship programs.
High school teacher ($61,820 per year): A high school teacher is a licensed professional who regularly holds a four-year college degree in the subject matter that they teach. They prepare lessons, design units of study, deliver lectures and interact with students and parents. Mechanical engineer ($95,300 per year): A medical engineer is a professional who designs machines using principles in mathematics and physics. Typically, this career requires a bachelor's degree or master's degree in mechanical engineering (technology).
Software architect ($110,140 per year): Software architects are professionals who design and create computer software. They typically hold a bachelor's degree or higher in computer science or computer engineering. They routinely write and review code to implement software systems.
Physician ($195,600 per year): Physicians are licensed medical professionals who diagnose, treat and manage illness, injury and disease. They attend between eight to 12 years of post-secondary education, including a four-year medical residency to prepare for their career.
Projected in-demand occupations
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the following occupations to experience the greatest growth in the decade between 2021 and 2031. As with the above section, these occupations represent various industries. The projected job growth rate is included in parentheses:
Wind turbine service technicians (44%): $56,260 per year
Ushers, lobby attendants and ticket takers (41%): $28,878 per year
Motion picture projectionists (40%): $29,350 per year
Cooks (restaurant) (37%): $30,010 per year
Athletes and sports competitors (36%): $77,300 per year
Statisticians (33%): $84,210 per year
Umpires, referees, and other sports officials (32%): $62,429 per year
Choreographers (28%): $47,038 per year
Medical and health services managers (28%): $101.340
Logisticians (28%): $61,392 per year
Physician assistants (28%): $107,762 per year
Solar photovoltaic installers (27%): $47,670 per year
Animal trainers (27%): $41,208 per year
Physician therapist assistants (26%): $74,795 per year
For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the link(s) provided.
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