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Income of Persons in the United States: 1954

Report Number P60-19

The average income of men and women in 1954 remained about the same as during the previous year, according to estimates released today by Robert W. Burgess, Director, Bureau of the Census, Department of Commerce. For all persons 14 years old and over receiving any money income, the median (average) income was estimated at $2,300in 1954.

The average income of men, which had been rising steadily between 1945 and 1953, leveled off at $3,200 in 1953 and 1954. Between 1952 and 1953, a gain of about $100 had been recorded. The proportion of men whose incomes were $5,000 or over rose from 16 percent in 1952 to about 20 percent in 1953 and 1954. In 1945, at the close of World War II, only 5 percent of the men had incomes that high.

The average income of men in most occupation groups did not fall during 1954, despite the decline in business activity which followed the end of the Korean conflict. Other evidence indicates that wage rate increases in most industries tended to offset the effect of reductions in the extent of full-time year-round work which accompanied the short-run cutbacks in nonagricultural production and employment.

Among women, the median income in 1954 was estimated at $1,200, about the same as it had been in the preceding two years. Since the close of World War II, the average income of women has increased by about $250, or 30 percent, while that of men has climbed about $1,400, or 75 percent. One reason for the relatively greater stability in the incomes received by women during the postwar period is that the effect of wage increases for women workers has been offset by an increase in the proportion of intermittent workers whose annual earnings tend to be low.

1 Medians cited in the text are taken from the detailed tables and rounded to hundreds of dollars.

A Note on Language

Census statistics date back to 1790 and reflect the growth and change of the United States. Past census reports contain some terms that today’s readers may consider obsolete and inappropriate. As part of our goal to be open and transparent with the public, we are improving access to all Census Bureau original publications and statistics, which serve as a guide to the nation's history.

Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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