The average wage in the US is $44,225.

Naturally, that means there are plenty of people who earn less, a host of people who earn more, and a large number of people looking to earn more. 

When considering your income the main question is how much you need to feel comfortable.

The average wage will allow you to afford your bills and enjoy life. 

However, earning a little more will ensure you have a higher quality of life and potentially financial freedom in the future.

Many people look at 100K a year as a good benchmark. 

In fact, the richest people see earning $100K as a good starting point for long-term financial freedom.

But, there is a big difference between earning $100K a year and having that much available to invest.

But, according to the latest figures, how many people make over 100K a year in the US? You may be surprised by the answer. 

Is $100K Enough?

How Many People Make Over 100K A Year In The US

On paper, $100K a year is an excellent wage.

You should be able to afford your mortgage, and all household bills, run two cars, and still have money for holidays and extras. 

Unfortunately, in the real world, this isn’t always the case.

The first thing to consider is taxes.

These will depend on your state but you’re likely to lose a quarter of your earnings, giving you $75,000.

That’s $6,250 a month. 

The average 30-year mortgage is $2,823 a month, knocking your monthly wage to $3,500. 

Now take out your bills and general living expenses.

You’ll quickly realize that, for a family, 100K isn’t enough.

You can’t handle the unexpected expenses. 

It may be time for you, and the other people earning 100K a year, to aim higher. 

Key Statistics

  • 34.1% of Americans, (approximately 120 million people) earn over $100,000 a year.
  • The remaining 230 million people are below the $100,000 threshold. 
  • 45% of Americans that earn 100k a year live paycheck to paycheck
  • 82% of US citizens earning 100k believe 200k is necessary to be considered rich
  • 17% of US men earn over 100k
  • 51% of Asian households have crossed the 100k year threshold
  • 20% of Americans over 65 make $100,000 a year
  • Levels of education directly affect earnings
  • Average management wage is $123,370
  • Just 1% of US households earn over $500,000
  • The US is 8th in the world according to average annual income

How Many People Make Over 100K A Year In The US?

Americans That Earn 100K Year Live Paycheck To Paycheck

1. Just 15.5% Of Americans Earn Between $100,000 And $149,999

The US is considered a wealthy country.

However, this isn’t the case for most average Americans.

Just 15.5% of Americans earn between $100,000 and $149,999.

The current population of America is around 330 million, 15.5% of this means less than 50 million Americans are earning over $100K and below $150K.

The statistics also show that 8.3% of Americans are earning between $150,000 and $199,999, with a further 10.3% earning over $200,000.

In other words, 34.1% of Americans, (approximately 120 million people) earn over $100,000.

The remaining 230 million people are below the $100,000 threshold. 


2. 45% Of Americans That Earn 100K Year Live Paycheck To Paycheck

The Western world has become used to instant gratification.

For most people the idea of saving to purchase something is ridiculous.

It’s much easier to get it now, especially with the number of financial incentives on offer. 

This mindset has led many Americans to spend all their money and be reliant on the next paycheck to get through. 

What may surprise you is that this mindset is the same for those earning over $100K. 

A recent study by Zippia found that 45% of Americans earning over $100K are still living paycheck to paycheck with no foreseeable way out. 

This figure is higher than in 2021 when 38% of people in this pay bracket were living paycheck to paycheck. 

The increase is mainly due to inflation and economic issues, highlighting the issues faced by everyone. 


3. 82% Of US Citizens Earning 100K believe 200K Is Necessary To Be Considered Rich

The general consensus is that you live to what you earn.

Therefore, someone earning $100K a year may have no spare money in just the same way as someone earning $40k or even $200k a year. 

It’s all a matter of what you spend your money on which creates a perception of rich or poor. 

This perception is perfectly reflected by those who earn more.

Statistics show that 82% of US citizens who already earn over $100K believe that they would need to earn $200K to be considered rich. 

In contrast, 56% of Americans feel that $100K a year would be enough for them to be considered rich.

It’s all about what you have versus what you want, and a culture where people always want more. 


4. 17% Of US Men Earn Over 100K

Men are still dominating the workplace and earn more money than women.

The latest statistics show that 17% of US men earn over $100K, while just 8.4% of women achieve the same financial status. 

Alongside this, 53.5% more full-time male workers will earn over $100K compared to female workers.

In percentage terms, 28.4% of full-time US males will earn over $100K.

Just 18.5% of full-time female workers will achieve the same goal. 

On average, a man will get paid 17 cents more per dollar earned by a woman.

That’s a small figure which adds up to a significant one. 

Interestingly, San Jose in California has the highest percentage of female workers earning over $100,000 in any US city.

Studies show that 34% of women in San Jose earn over $100K.

In contrast, just 31% of women in San Francisco, and 27% of women in Washington D.C. can say the same.

It’s worth noting that 18% of white men make more than $100,000 annually, as compared to just 8% of black working men.

In other words, white men are twice as likely to earn $100K as black men.


5. 51% Of Asian Households Have Crossed The 100K A Year Threshold

Race is a factor when it comes to Americans earning higher incomes. 

However, according to the latest research, 51% of Asian households earn over 100K.

Surprisingly, this group is the highest average earners in the US. 

17.7% Of Asian households earn between $100,000 and $149,999.

A further 12% earn between $150,000 and $199,999, with an impressive 21.1% earning over $200,000.

In contrast, just 37% of white US households make $100k or more a year.

Just 12.1% of them earn over $200,000. 

Hispanic households do nearly as well, with 27% of these households earning over $100,000 and 6.8% of this ethnic group earning over $200,000.

Black households fare the worst.

Just 22% of black households earn over $100,000 a year and only 5.7% earn over $200,000. 

In other words, 68.2% more white households cross the $100K barrier than black households. 


6. 20% Of Americans Over 65 Make $100,000 A Year

In general, the older people get the more money they make.

It’s a culmination of their time and experience allowing them to command higher salaries.

According to the latest figures, 20% of Americans over 65 make $100K a year.

In contrast, just 1% of Americans aged between 18-24 make the same amount of money. 

People in the 25-35-year-old bracket don’t fare much better, only 2% of these reach the magic $100K. 

However, people aged between 35 and 45 years old see a massive increase in wealth, 12% of this group earn over $100K.

The percentage of high earners increases as people age. 


7. Levels Of Education Directly Affect Earnings

According to a survey conducted by The Census Bureau, your level of education makes a fundamental difference to how much you earn. 

This is fairly obvious in that better qualifications generally open doors to higher-paying jobs.

What’s surprising is the difference. 

The average household run by someone who didn’t even finish high school earns $34,642 a year. 

In contrast, households run by people who gained high school diplomas averaged $50,124.

If the household is run by someone with a college education the average income increases to $61,111. 

However, anyone with a Bachelor’s degree is virtually guaranteed to be better off.

On average, this type of household will earn $98,461, agonizingly close to $100K.

The figure above relates to 2021, in 2020 it was $97,019, suggesting that the figures for 2022 will push it to $100K.

(The Census Bureau)

8. Average Management Wage Is $123,370

Management positions come with a lot of responsibility.

It’s necessary to report to those above you while keeping those below you happy.

Most managers find it’s a delicate balancing act.

However, it’s also well rewarded.

The exact amount will depend on the industry and experience of the manager. 

In general, a top manager will earn an average wage of $123,370.

In many sectors, it can be significantly higher than this. 

There are just over 200,000 CEOs in the US and their average annual wage is $213,020.

That equates to $102.41 per hour, a rate that most people would be happy with.


9. Just 1% Of US Households Earn Over $500,000

While the number of people earning over $100,000 is increasing, there are still very few American households bringing in more than $500K. 

According to general opinion, at least 19% of Americans earn over $500,000 and approximately 10% earn over $1 million.

It’s certainly in keeping with the American dream. 

However, the truth is vastly different.

Just 1% of households earn over $500,000.

That’s approximately 1.27 million people. 

Half of these are in the highest earning rank of over $1 million. 

In other words, out of a population of 330 million, just 0.6 million people earn between $100,000 and $1 million.

The same approximate number as the super-rich, over $1 million earners. 

(World Economic Forum)

10. The US Is 8th In The World According To Average Annual Income

The US Is 8th In The World According To Average Annual Income

The figures regarding earnings in 2020 showed that the US ranked 8th on a list of global average incomes. 

That would suggest the average American is wealthy.

It’s certainly the image most other countries have of America. 

However, the truth is the average American is not wealthy and many would not be able to cope with an unexpected expense. 

The latest figures for 2022 show an average hourly wage of $27.12.

If you worked eight hours a day this rate would earn you $1,084.80 a week, or $56,400 a year. 

Of course, the average mortgage is nearly $3,000 a month, leaving the average American with very little to cover all other living expenses. 

Perhaps the view that Americans are wealthy is not as accurate as most people think.

(Trading Economics)

Summing Up

When asking how many people make over $100K a year in the US, you probably weren’t expecting the number to be as low as 15.5%.

The simple truth is that the majority of Americans survive paycheck to paycheck and many earn considerably less than $100,000. 

America remains the wealthiest country in the world, but the distribution of wealth within the country is becoming increasingly uneven.

The rich really are getting richer at the expense of the poor. 

Of course, anyone can earn over $100K, it takes a lot of work, time, and dedication.

Unfortunately, most people are too busy living to have the time to grow their wealth. 

It’s likely the number of people earning over $100K will increase, but this will be mainly due to inflationary pay increases and not a result of people becoming wealthier. 

Don’t forget, earning $100,000 a year doesn’t make you rich.

In many places, you’ll be considered upper-middle class.

However, in the wealthier areas, such as coastal cities, you may just be seen as lower-middle class.