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Income of Men at All-Time High in 1955 (Advance data, March 1956 sample survey)

Report Number P60-21

Men's incomes reached a new record level in 1955, according to estimates released today by the Bureau of the Census, Department of Commerce. The average (median) income of men was $3,400 in 1955, a gain of about $150 over the previous year. Increased wage rates together with greater regularity or employment in 1955 largely accounted for this substantial rise.

The average income of men had been rising steadily between 1945 and 1952, but had leveled off at about $3,200 in 1953 and 1954. The proportion of men whose incomes were $5,000 or over rose from 20 percent in 1953 to about 24 percent in 1955. In 1945, at the close of World War II, only 5 percent of the men had incomes that high.

Among women, the average (median) income in 1955 was $1,100, about the same as it had been in the preceding three years. Since the close of World War II, the average income of women has increased by about $200, or 24 percent, while that of men has climbed about $1,500, or 85 percent. Wage rates have increased sharply for women as well as for men during the postwar period. However, the effect of these wage increases for women has been partly offset by the rising proportion of married women in the labor force, many of whom work only part of the year. In 1955, in particular, large numbers of married women entered the labor market after midyear when job opportunities were expanding rapidly.

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.

Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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