Distribution of Personal Income

Gross domestic product (GDP) measures how a country's economy is doing based on the value of goods and services produced, for example the amount that businesses are investing. GDP is part of BEA's National Income and Product Accounts, which measure the value and makeup of the nation's output, the types of income generated, and how that income is used. Gross domestic income (GDI), which is conceptually equivalent to GDP, measures the incomes generated by the economy and provides information about how households are sharing in the economy's growth. Personal income, which comprises the majority of GDI (87% in 2018), includes wages and salaries, interest off investments, and government benefits.

BEA is building a new set of statistics that takes this primary economic indicator -- total U.S. personal income -- and measures how it is distributed across households in different income groups. BEA plans to release prototype measures by the end of 2020, and after obtaining input and refining methodology, will begin publishing these new statistics regularly. Recently, BEA solicited feedback about these metrics at its Advisory Committee meeting that took place in May 2019. The current effort builds on at least a decade of BEA research by bringing in new sources of data, including demographic surveys, tax records, and administrative records, and will offer insights into how American households share in overall economic growth.

What is Distribution of Personal Income?

Measures how households are sharing in the U.S. economy's growth. Shows how total personal income in the United States is distributed across households.

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