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Income of young adults

Question:
What is the average income for young adults?

Response:

This Fast Fact examines the annual earnings of 25- to 34-year-olds who worked full time, year round (i.e., worked 35 or more hours per week for 50 or more weeks per year)1. Many people in this age group recently exited formal education. They may be entering the workforce for the first time or transitioning from part-time to full-time work. In 2022, some 76 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds in the labor force2 worked full time, year round. This percentage was generally higher for those with higher levels of educational attainment. For example, 80 percent of labor force participants in this age group who had a bachelor’s degree as their highest level of education worked full time, year round in 2022, compared with 73 percent of those who completed high school3 as their highest level of educational attainment. In this Fast Fact, reported levels of educational attainment refer to a personís highest degree earned or level of school completed.

For 25- to 34-year-olds who worked full time, year round, those who had higher educational attainment also had higher median earnings in 2022. In general, this pattern was consistent for each year from 2012 through 2022 (in constant 2022 dollars).4 For example, in 2022,

The pattern of those with higher educational attainment having higher median earnings held, in general, for both male and female 25- to 34-year-olds who worked full time, year round in 2022. However, the median earnings of males were higher than the median earnings of their female peers at all levels of educational attainment. For example, the median earnings of males with a bachelorís degree ($75,100) were 23 percent higher than those of their female peers ($60,800). The median earnings of males who completed high school ($46,400) were 26 percent higher than those of their female peers ($36,700).

In general, the median earnings of Asian5 and White 25- to 34-year-olds who worked full time, year round exceeded the corresponding median earnings of their Black and Hispanic peers at most educational attainment levels in 2022. For example, the median earnings were higher for

For 25- to 34-year-old workers of Two or more races, earnings ranged from $40,600 for those who completed high school to $74,900 for those with a masterís or higher degree, and these earnings also tended to be lower than the earnings of their Asian peers.6

Median earnings increased between 2012 and 2022 at some but not all educational attainment levels for 25- to 34-year-olds who worked full time, year round. Specifically, median earnings (in constant 2022 dollars) increased between 2012 and 2022 for

However, the median earnings were not measurably different in 2022 than in 2012 for those with some college but no degree, those with an associateís degree, or those with a masterís or higher degree. In addition, at all attainment levels, median earnings were not measurably different in 2022 than in 2019 just prior to the pandemic.7


1 For general technical notes related to data analysis, data interpretation, rounding, and other considerations, please refer to the Condition of Education Readerís Guide.
2 Data are based on sample surveys of the noninstitutionalized population, which excludes persons living in institutions (e.g., prisons or nursing facilities); data include military personnel who live in households with civilians but exclude those who live in military barracks. The labor force consists of all those in this population who are employed or seeking employment. The percentages of 25- to 34-year-olds who were in the labor force were not measurably different across 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 (85 percent each), according to Current Population Survey (CPS), Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2020 through 2023.
3 Refers to those whose highest level of education completed is a high school diploma or an equivalency credential such as a GED.
4 Constant dollars are based on the Consumer Price Index, prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.
5 Comparisons between 25- to 34-year-old Asian workers and those of other racial/ethnic groups exclude those who completed less than high school because data for Asian workers at this attainment level do not meet reporting standards.
6 Comparisons between 25- to 34-year-old workers of Two or more races and those of other racial/ethnic groups exclude those who completed less than high school and those with an associateís degree because data for workers of Two or more races at these attainment levels do not meet reporting standards.
7 Caution should be used when comparing 2019, 2020, and 2021 estimates with those of other years due to the impact that the coronavirus pandemic had on interviewing and response rates. For additional information about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Current Population Survey data collection, please see https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/cps/techdocs/cpsmar23.pdf.

SOURCE: National Center for Education Statistics. (2024). Annual Earnings by Educational Attainment. Condition of Education. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator/cba.

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