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Report Number P60-18

Average (median) family income in the UnitedStates was estimated at $4,200 in 1954, according to estimates released today by Robert W. Burgess, Director, Bureau of the Census, Department of Commerce. This figure was about the same as in 1953 but $300 higher than in 1952. The increase since 1952 probably represented a significant gain in purchasing power for the average family, since prices rose only slightly during the same period, according to the Consumer's Price Index.

Of the Nation's 42 million families, about 16 million, or two-fifths, received incomes of $5,000 or more in 1954 while 8 million, or one-fifth, had incomes under $2,000. The remaining 18 million families were in the $2,000-to-$5,000 bracket. The distribution of families (groups of two or more related persons) by their income in 1954 ls shown below:


(Figures derived from data in table B and rounded to the nearest 100,000)
Family Income Number of Families
Total 41,900,000
Under $1,000 3,700,000
$1,000 to $1,999 4,600,000
$2,000 to $2,999 5,000,000
$3,000 to $3,999 6,400,000
$4,000 to $4,999 6,500,000
$5,000 to $5,999 5,000,000
$6,000 to $6,999 3,600,000
$7,000 to $9,999 4,700,000
$10,000 to $14,999 1,800,000
$15,000 and over 600,000

The 7-percent gain in family income since 1952 largely reflects the continued rise in wage rates for workers in most major industries. The survey data indicate that the median wage or salary income rose between 7 and 8 percent from 1952 to 1954. During this period, average income from farm self-employment decreased substantially while receipts from other sources of income remained stable.

A Note on Language

Census statistics date back to 1790 and reflect the growth and change of the United States. Past census reports contain some terms that today’s readers may consider obsolete and inappropriate. As part of our goal to be open and transparent with the public, we are improving access to all Census Bureau original publications and statistics, which serve as a guide to the nation's history.

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