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Are You in the Top 1%?


The term “top 1%” typically refers to people among the top 1% wealthiest Americans, as measured by either annual income or net worth. The income of those in the top 1% is many multiples above that of the average American. According to a Congressional Budget Office report, you need at least $652,657 in income per year to make the top 1%, but this varies by where you live.

While making six figures is not within the reach for many people, a financial advisor can help you build a financial plan for the future.

Income of the Top 1%

In order to be considered in the top 1% of wage earners in the U.S., you’d need to have wages of $652,657, according to information from the Congressional Budget Office, but that may change based on where you live. By comparison, the average worker in the U.S. earns just $59,384 annually.

Want to see where you fall? Try inputting your income into this calculator to see your ranking, developed by The income of the top 1% is still growing. Research from EPI shows that wages from 2009-2019 grew 20.4%, while those in the bottom 90% rose at less than half that rate — only 8.7%.

For wider context, EPI also found that when you look at wages from 1979–2019, the top 1% grew by 160.3%, while the bottom 90% saw wages grow only 26% during the same time period.

EPI data, however, showed that earners in the top 10% make substantially less than the top 1%. Those making between 90th and 95th percentiles averaged almost six times less — $129,998 in 2019. Earners in between the 95th and 99th percentiles averaged just over three times less — $210,511 in 2019.

State by State

Are You in the Top 1%?

The top 1% also varies depending on what state you live in. For example, in Connecticut, you’d need to pull in $952,902 a year to fall into the top 1%. In Georgia, those numbers are significantly lower, at $585,397 annually to earn a place in the top 1%. In Texas, those numbers are $631,849, while in California it’s $844,266.

You can read our study to better understand how much you would need to earn in the state you reside in order to be considered the top 1%.

Top 1% by Net Worth and Throughout the World

According to a wealth report by Knight Frank, you would need to be worth $5.8 million or more to be in the top 1% of the United States. This puts the United States as the country with the fourth highest number in the world.

What you need to earn throughout the world to be considered part of the 1% in that country will depend on where you live. The three countries that are higher than the U.S. are Monaco, Luxembourg and Switzerland. You would need $12.88 million, $10.83 million or $8.51 million in those countries, respectively.

Bottom Line

Top 1%

To be in the top percentage of earners in the U.S., you’d need to pull in an average of $652,657 a year, but it could be more than that depending on what state you live in. Keep in mind that the average worker in the U.S. earns just $59,384 annually. If you’re looking to grow your wealth substantially, you might benefit from working with a financial advisor.

Tips for Investing

  • Many financial advisors specialize in tuning your portfolio to boost income. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • You can consider the wealth gap from many perspectives beyond just the raw numbers. Insightful data exists on the gap considered from the perspectives of race, generation and gender.

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