The median income is the income amount that divides a population into two equally-sized groups, half having an income above that amount, and half having an income below that amount. It may differ from the mean (or average) income. Both of these are ways of understanding income distribution.

Median income can be calculated by household income, by personal income, or for specific demographic groups.

The measurement of income from individuals and households, which is necessary to produce statistics such as the median, can pose challenges and yield results inconsistent with aggregate national accounts data. For example, an academic study on the Census income data claims that when correcting for underreporting, U.S. median gross household income was 15% higher in 2010 (table 3).[1]

Median equivalised income

See also: Equivalisation and Disposable household and per capita income § Median equivalised disposable income

Household incomes are sometimes adjusted by a factor that takes into account household size (and possibly composition). In that case, the adjusted, or "equivalised," income is assigned to each member of the household before statistics such as the median are computed at the individual level.[2][3]

The following table represents data from OECD's "median disposable income per person" metric; disposable income deducts from gross income the value of taxes on income and wealth paid and of contributions paid by households to public social security schemes.[4] The figures are equivalised by dividing income by the square root of household size. As OECD displays median disposable incomes in each country's respective currency, the values were converted here using PPP conversion factors for private consumption from the same source, accounting for each country's cost of living in the year that the disposable median income was recorded.[5] Data are in United States dollars at current prices and current purchasing power parity for private consumption for the reference year.

See also


  1. ^ Fixler, Dennis; Johnson, David S. (September 30, 2012). Accounting for the Distribution of Income in the U.S. National Accounts (PDF). NBER Conference on Research in Income and Wealth. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 22, 2020.
  2. ^ "Terms of Reference, OECD Project on the Distribution of Household Incomes" (PDF). July 2017. Retrieved 6 January 2024.
  3. ^ "Glossary: Equivalised disposable income". Retrieved 6 January 2024.
  4. ^ Income Distribution Database OECD June 2023, retrieved 1 September 2023
  5. ^ "Income Distribution Database".