Interactive: Comparing wages within and across demographic groups in the United States

Hourly wages among U.S. workers vary enormously by gender, race, and education level. This simple interactive tool provides a way to see just how much wages vary within and across demographic groups.

The interactive begins by displaying the 10th, 50th, and 90th percentile hourly wages for people of any gender, race or ethnicity, and education level. The 10th percentile worker is a relatively low-wage worker, who earns more than 10 percent of all workers, but less than 90 percent of all workers. The 50th percentile (or median) worker is the worker right in the middle of all earners, making more than the bottom half of all workers and less than the top half of all workers. The 90th percentile worker is a relatively well-paid worker, who earns more than 90 percent of the workforce, but less than the top 10 percent. Over the period 2013-2016, the 10th percentile worker earned $9.11 per hour, the median-wage workers earned $18.22 per hour, and the 90th percentile worker earned $43.87 per hour (all wage rates have been adjusted for inflation and expressed in 2016 dollars).

Average Wages by Demographics
An interactive look at how wages vary within and between demographic groups
Use the dropdown menus to create a demographic group of your choice, and hit the add button to load it into the interactive. By clicking download image, you can save a shareable graphic.
Education level

To see how a certain group fares in comparison to all workers, use the dropdown menus to select a gender (all, women, men), race or ethnicity (African American, Asian, Latino, or white), and an education level (less than high school, high school, some college, four-year college degree, advanced degree) and hit the add button to display the data for this group. The interactive can create many different groups by selecting different demographic combinations and hitting add after forming each one.

To compare the earnings of white men with college degrees to Latina women with college degrees, for example, use the dropdown menus to create and add each group. The result: the lowest-paid white men with college diplomas earn $14.12 per hour, which is about 39 percent more than the $10.14 earned by Latina women with a four-year college degree. At the median, white men with a college degree make $30.00 per hour, or approximately 48 percent more than the $20.28 earned by the median college-educated Latina women. For the best paid workers in both groups—those at the 90th percentile—the pay gap is 59 percent, with white, male college graduates receiving $67.90 per hour, compared to $42.61 garnered by top-earning Latina women with college degrees.

To call out an interesting row in any group of comparisons, hover over the row and the option to highlight that row will appear to change its color. Tapping highlight again returns the row to its original color. To remove a row, the hover function also provides the option to delete a group from the chart.

To begin building a new chart from scratch, hit the red start over button

After you’ve created the comparisons, tap the download image button at the top of the interactive to save the chart, and, then, feel free to share it with the world.


The data behind this interactive are derived from the Center for Economic and Policy Research extracts of the Current Population Survey Outgoing Rotation Group. To reduce problems with small samples, we pooled together the 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 CPS survey results. We limited our sample to working-age persons (between the ages of 16 to 64). Finally, our estimates of the 10th, 50th (median), and 90th percentile hourly wage are expressed in 2016 dollars and include earnings from overtime, tips, bonuses, and commissions.

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