What Percent Are You?


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The last five years has put the spotlight on the division of the one percent and the rest of the country, the 99%. That’s a very important distinction when it comes to public policy, but it makes it very hard to take stock of your own progress when it comes to income earning.

So for anyone who’s curious where they stack up, I bring you two of the most robust income percentile calculators on the internet. There are a few dozen floating out there, but I like the sample size and source data used by these two in particular.


Figuring Out Your Percentile


WSJ Calculator


Check out the calculator here. (Note: You may need to sign in as it’s an archived article – it’s free. Otherwise, use the other calculator below).

This one is my favorite as it shows percentile against the rest of the population but also your ranking when factoring in race and education level.




DQYDJ has a calculator by overall US population and one by age. The interface is less pretty, but for folks who don’t want to log in to WSJ, this is the calculator to use.



There are a ton of gems in this data. I’ll reference WSJ for this section.

  • Breaking the six-figure mark of $100,000 puts you in the 92nd percentile.
  • Earning $50,000 a year puts you at the 73rd percentile. You would be doing better than almost three quarters of the American population at that level!
  • Earning $40,000 gets you to the 64th percentile, better than almost two thirds of the country.

This exercise is like a jolt of gratitude injected straight into the the vein.

It’s easy to get caught up in how others have more than you, but you may forget to look at the whole landscape and realize how far you’ve come.

Of course, there’s nothing with wanting to improve your game.

Maybe you’re asking yourself how you inch up in those rankings. There are plenty of ways to get started today.




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4 Responses

  1. Alonso says:

    I tried the WSJ Calculator. I loved how they have extra filters to narrow results by generation and ethnicity. Another tool that encouraged me to re-examine another area of my life is seeyourfolks.com. It estimates how many more times you’ll see your parents before they die based on how many times you see them per year now.

    • JP says:

      That’s a definite wake up call and a neat tool. Reminds me of a great post on Wait But Why called “The Tail End”. Nice suggestion.

  2. EL says:

    Hey I’ve seen similar calculators before and it does provide good feedback. Being in the 73% percentile is good, but it also doesn’t account for cost of living in your area. If you make 50K in San Francisco you will be struggling, but if you make that in Ohio it will be a decent income. ITs all relative to where you live.

    • JP says:

      That’s a fair comment. Combining it with a gross up based on a cost of living calculator may get us 90% of the way there.

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