African American Income

Median weekly earnings by ageBlackAll Races
16 to 24 years – boys/men$648$714
16 to 24 years – girls/women$657$672
25 to 54 years – Men$1,014$1,247
25 to 54 years – Women$895$1,055
55 years and over – Men$1,128$1,296
55 years and over – Women$925$1,032
NOTE: full-time wage and salary workers
SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics second quarter 2023 averages, not seasonally adjusted

Although incomes for African Americans have improved significantly since the Civil Rights era, they are still lower than the national average. For example the median income for Black families is $28 thousand a year less than the national family median income. As you can see from the chart labeled ‘Black Household Income’ that Black married-couple families make more than twice that of Female householder families.

This charts also indicates that there may be a substantial benefit for those in a married-couple family regardless of race or ethnicity. However we must also recognize that an increase in marriages between lower income couples would most likely lower the median income of married couple households which may not eliminate but will reduce such benefit.   

Wages by Education

African American median Income has increased since the Great Recession of 2008, however the racial gap persists. African Americans were the last major racial/ethnic group to start recovering from the recession. Another indication is the correlation between education and wages. In 2021 African Americans with no high school diploma earn just about $64 less per week than the median of all Americans without a high school diploma. Or African Americans without a diploma make 90 cents for every dollar all Americans make. 

Black men with a bachelor’s degree earn only 77 cents for every dollar that all American men with a bachelor’s degree earn.

Black women with a bachelor’s degree earn 85 cents for every dollar that all American women with a bachelor’s degree earn.


NOTE: Middle class income has been re-categorized on this website as $50K to 150K from $35K to $100K using guidance from Pew Research Center (8/12/2020).

During the 1990s African American income grew tremendously. By 2000, about 44% of African American households had an annual income of $50K or more compared to just 22% in 1969. However due to the Great Recession which lasted from December 2007 to June 2009 that number dropped to just 38% by 2010 reversing much of these gains. The most dramatic change during the Great Recession was the percentage of Black households making under $15K (from 18% in 2000 to 22% in 2012) which was well below the poverty line for most families. Although the economic rebound was slowest for the Black population, by 2018 Black median incomes grew closer to recovery and the Black upper class and wealthy grew to its biggest percentage ever. 


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