Average Income 2010-2012

Sep 9, 2014 by

Are you struggling under the burden of payments on loans taken out to finance your college education? If you’re an “average American,” the Great Recession caused your challenge to mushroom. Take a look at these average American income statistics for 2010 and 2012 broken down by educaton level, compiled at Statistic Brain:

Average Income by Education Level 2010 and 2012









College Degree Holders Get Walloped

I’m struck most by how severely Bachelor’s Degree holders got smacked down—by over 19%—compared to every other category, especially those who did not even complete high school.

Of course we always have to be careful with statistics. I wouldn’t interpret this data as meaning a lot of people took pay cuts while in the same job. I think the income crash reflects two phenomenon: 1) People who’d lost their jobs (or graduated from college) and hadn’t found any work, so their income might be $0, and 2) people who’d lost their jobs and had found work, but perhaps outside of their field and at a much lower rate of pay.

It’s remarkable to me too that even those with professional degrees—I think that means doctors, lawyers, and maybe politicians, since they all seem to be ‘professional’—took a hit. Forgive me, but I’d consider hordes of unemployed lawyers roaming America’s streets a potential good omen.

What About Americans’ 2014 Income?

It’ll take some time before data for 2014 are available, but I can’t imagine the big deficits highlighted above will have been reversed. The economy’s improved, but I haven’t read of any significant “wage inflation” (which we can see would not be exactly what I’d call inflation but rather recovery to where real wages were a decade ago).

What Can We Do?

If your income has taken a hit since 2008, what have you done to make up the difference? Are you saving less? Did you move back in with your folks? Cut expenses? Added a second, part-time job?

Are you seeing improved employment prospects in your field?


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