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What we make. Examining incomes for a wide range of average Americans.
What does the average person earn at his or her job every year?
That question is easy to answer, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average wage for working adults in America as of (Q4 2017) is $857 per week or $44,564 annually.
However, while that is just an average (mean), our paychecks vary widely on a whole lot of factors—aside from our occupation. For instance, men make $49,192 on average, which women earn only $39.888, or just 81.3% of their male counterparts.
It’s common sense that age factors into what we earn, too, and the data proves that, with men 55 to 64 achieving the highest annual earnings ($58,760), while women topped out $43,420 from ages 45 to 54. It also makes sense that there’s a huge correlation between education levels and income. College graduates with at least a Bachelor’s Degree earn an average of $66,456 annually (it literally pays to stay in school!), while those with a Master’s Degree or higher earn a lofty $77,324 on average.
As could be expected, people working white collar jobs make more, as professional, management, and related occupations bring home $64,200 annually, compared to an average of just $28,028 for service occupations.
Now, let’s run down the best, the worst, and some other notable occupations based on their corresponding salaries.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are the 25 highest paying jobs in America:
Median salary: $269,600
Median salary: $252,910
3. Obstetrician and Gynecologist
Median salary: $234,310
4. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
Median salary: $232,870
Median salary: $228,780
Median salary: $201,840
Median salary: $200,220
Median salary: $184,240
Median salary: $173,860
Median salary: $168,140
11. Nurse Anesthetist
Median salary: $164,030
12. Petroleum Engineer
Median salary: $147,030
13. IT Manager
Median salary: $145,740
14. Marketing Manager
Median salary: $144,140
Median salary: $144,110
Median salary: $139,880
17. Financial Manager
Median salary: $139,720
18. Sales Manager
Median salary: $135,090
19. Financial Advisor
Mean salary: $123,100
20. Business Operations Manager
Median salary: $122,090
Median salary: $120,270
Median salary: $117,580
Median salary: $114,120
24. Political Scientist
Median salary: $112,250
25. Medical and Health Services Manager
Median salary: $109,370
Now, here are some notoriously low-paying jobs in the United States:
- Gaming Dealers $21,990
- Animal Caretakers $31,240
- Cooks $16,000 – $24,000
- Hotel clerks $21,500
- Bank teller $24,940
- Janitor $24,850
- Restaurant host, hostess, waiter or waitress $24,410
- Farmworkers and laborers $10.52 per hour and an average yearly salary as low as $25,570
- Retail cashiers $25,827 to $32,732.
- Personal and home care aides $22,272 to $26,921.
- House cleaners/maids $23,469.
- Motion picture projectionist $18,260.
- Manicurists and Pedicurists $26,400
- Childcare workers $28,090.
- Fast food workers (salaried or full-time) $20,257
- Dishwasher $9.10/hour or $18, 930
- Walmart worker $8.86/hour or $17,860
These jobs pay near the national average:
- Attorney $51,000
- Elementary school teacher $35,630 – $83,160. (Median $53,400)
- Event Planner $45,810
- Flight attendants $43,350
- Child, family, and school social workers $43,540
- Real estate agent $39,000
- Administrative assistant $24,000 to $50,000 (Median $32,502)
What trades pay:
- Heat, AC, and refrigeration mechanics and installers $43,670
- Construction worker $32,000
- Plumber or electrician $39,000
The highest-paying private sector jobs in America:
- Chief executives officers (CEO’s) $15.6 million (but their bonuses commonly reach millions or even tens of millions of dollars!) By the way, that’s 271 times more than the average American worker!
- Average NBA basketball player salary $7.15 million
- Average MLB baseball player salary $4.47 million
- Average NFL football salary $2.7 million
What government employees and civil servants earn:
- State worker $49,240
- Policeman $48,000
- Fireman $43,000
- Garbage collector $43,000
- Average U.S. Army private up to sergeant $17,892 to $27,814
- Governor $70,000-$187,256
- Senator $193,400
- Congressman $174,000
- United States President $400,000