Insights and Figures on Personal Finance

“Numbers don’t lie” is a phrase that’s heard a lot. What does this tell us about the personal finance situation in the USA? We’ve prepared an analysis of personal financial facts and statistics that will help you to understand where you stand in relation to other Americans.

Our analysis doesn’t aim to make you insecure. It’s more about setting parameters to allow you to assess your performance and make changes where necessary.

We’re sure you enjoy numbers, because we have a lot of them. Numbers are a necessary evil and part of personal finance. We will present statistics on a variety of topics, including income, debt, budgeting and savings, and financial planning.

The median income for households in the United States is $79900. There is wide variation in the median household income between states. The following statistics on median household income are provided by US Department of Housing and Urban Development as of April 1, 2020:Could You Pass?

StateMedian Household income
District of Columbia$123,100
New Hampshire$98,200
New Jersey$106,000
New Mexico$61,400
New York$87,100
North Carolina$70,900
North Dakota$90,100
Rhode Island$88,000
South Carolina$68,700
South Dakota$75,500
West Virginia$60,300

Ever wondered what your income is compared to other wage earners in the country? You may be surprised to learn that households with household incomes over $200,000 are among the wealthiest 10.3% of the nation.

According to Statista the income distribution in America is as follows for 2019:

According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2019, 10.5% or approximately 34 million people were living below the poverty level.

According to US Office for the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, the poverty line for 2019, is as follows:

  • One person – $12,490
  • Two people – $16,910
  • Three people – $21,330
  • Four people – $25,750
  • Five people – $30,170
  • Six peoples – $34,590
  • Seven people – $39,010
  • Eight people – $43,430

According to the “Median Household income Per State” table provided by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (see the first section), the five richest US states are:

  • Massachusetts, $106,200
  • Maryland, $106,000
  • New Jersey – $106,000
  • Connecticut, $102,600
  • Hawaii, $99,800

According to the “Median Household income Per State” table provided by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (see the first section), the five poorest US states are:

  • Mississippi, $60,000
  • West Virginia, $60,300
  • Arkansas, $60,700
  • New Mexico, $61,400
  • Louisiana, $64,700

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), income per level of education is as follows:

Education LevelWeekly earningsAnnual Earnings
Doctoral degree$1,743$90,636
Professional degree$1,836$95,472
Master’s degree$1,401$72,852
Bachelor’s degree$1,173$60,996
Associate’s degree$836$43,472
Some college, no degree$774$40,248
High School diploma without college$712$37,024
Less Than a High School Diploma$520$27,040
Median for all educational levels$907$47,164

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics median earnings are as follows:

Age BracketWeekly earningsAnnual Earnings
55 to 64$1,130$58,760
65 years and older$989$51,428

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual consumer expenditure in the USA in 2019 was $63,036.

The top three categories of expenses by individual were:

  • Housing, $20,679
  • Transportation, $10,742
  • Food, $8,169
  • Personal Insurance and Pensions $7,165
  • Health, $5,193

The total consumer debt in the USA stands at $14.96 trillion. These are the statistics released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the second quarter of 2020. This includes all consumer debt including student loans, auto loans, home mortgages and credit cards.

Credit card debt in America is $807 billion. Average credit card debt per household is $6,270 and 45.4% have credit card debt. (Source: Value Penguin )

The average American household spends $1,045.55 on credit card interest every year. Due to the fact that most Americans have multiple credit cards and variable interest rates and balances, it’s likely they don’t know how much they are paying.

Around 2 million cars are repossessed in the USA every year (source: Typically, vehicles are repossessed 90 days after defaulting on a loan (your last payment).

The total amount of student loan debt in the USA is a record $1.71 trillion as of the beginning of 2021 (source:

44,7 million students and graduates have an average student loan debt of almost $30,000. Parents who borrowed student loans for their children owed an average of $37,200 each.

Each year, 544 463 Americans declare bankruptcy, of which 522 808 are personal bankruptcies. Business bankruptcies make up the rest. Source: US

Chapter 7 bankruptcys accounted for 378,953 of the total. This represents total and immediate bankruptcies. 156 377 Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases were filed, which are partial bankruptcies that have been settled largely through installment payments.

45% of Americans do not have any savings (source: GOBankingRates ).

The information is a bit dated, but according to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder in 2017, 78% of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck. The survey found that 78% of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck.

According to, only 41% of Americans are budget-conscious.

According to a survey conducted by Bankrate at the start of 2021, only 39% of Americans had enough savings to cover an emergency of $1,000. The majority of those who did not have enough money to cover an emergency reported that they would borrow from friends and family, use credit cards or personal loans.

In 2020, Americans paid overdraft fees of $11.8 billion. The majority of these fees was paid by financially vulnerable. (Source: Forbes.)

As of November 2020 , the average American has saved $17 135. The national average is $17,135, but state averages are quite different. The lowest average is in West Virginia at $6,936, while the highest average is in South Dakota at $24,497.

The average retirement balance is $65,000. This information was released by the Federal Reserve for 2019. According to the Federal Reserve’s 2019 report, this is according information released.

The amount you should save for retirement is highly subjective. The calculation is based on the current income you earn – assumed to be sufficient to cover all your living costs – multiplied with a factor likely to result in a significant amount of retirement savings when you reach 65.

By the age of 40, for example, you should be saving between 1.5 and 2.5 your annual salary. The amount of money you need to save will rise with age.

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