Distribution of Personal Income
These prototype statistics take one of BEA's primary economic indicators—U.S. personal income—and measure how it is distributed across households. This provides a new tool for assessing how households share in the nation's economic growth. The statistics build on at least a decade of BEA research by bringing in new sources of data, including demographic surveys, aggregated tax records, and administrative records.
The first of these prototype statistics were published in March 2020. Statistics on the distribution of disposable personal income were added later that year, along with methodological improvements. In December 2021, the data were extended to cover the years 2000 to 2019, incorporating additional methodological improvements. We will continue to seek feedback on the prototypes before beginning to publish distribution of personal income statistics regularly.About the December 2021 Update
- Includes distribution of personal income by decile, quintile, top 1%, and top 5%, 2000—2019.
- Download a summary file of inequality metrics for 2000-2019 XLSX
- Technical Document: An Updated Methodology for Distributing Personal Income December 15, 2021
This document details BEA's methodology for the prototype estimates.
- Summary of Methodological Updates and New Features PDF December 15, 2021
- Measuring Inequality in the National Accounts December 15, 2020
This paper provides context around the prototype estimates released in December 2020, including discussions of measurement issues and the concept of income.
- Infographic: Measuring the Distribution of Personal Income PDF and Image PNG
- New Statistics Measure How Personal Income Is Distributed
- How households share in an economy's growthBy Dennis J. Fixler | Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence, August 2019
- Do transfers lower inequality between households? Demographic evidence from Distributional National Accounts By Marina Gindelsky | Economic Inquiry. Volume 60, Issue 3. July 2022. Pages 1233-1257
- Developing Statistics on the Distribution of State Personal Income: Methodology and Preliminary Results By Dirk van Duym and Christian Awuku-Budu | U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, May 2022
- The Feasibility of a Quarterly Distribution of Personal Income By Dennis Fixler, Marina Gindelsky, and Robert Kornfeld | U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, December 2021
- Distributing Personal Income: Trends Over Time By Dennis Fixler, Marina Gindelsky, and David Johnson | National Bureau of Economic Research, March 2020
- Improving the Measure of the Distribution of Personal IncomeBy Dennis J. Fixler, Marina Gindelsky, and David S. Johnson | BEA Paper, February 2019. Published in AEA Papers and Proceedings, May 2019.
- Towards a Distribution of Household Income: Linking Survey Data to Administrative Data PDFby Dennis J. Fixler, Marina Gindelsky, and David S. Johnson | 35th IARIW General Conference, August 2018
- A Consistent Data Series to Evaluate Growth and Inequality in the National Accountsby Dennis J. Fixler, David S. Johnson, Andrew Craig, and Kevin Furlong | Review of Income and Wealth, November 2017
- Toward National and Regional Distributions of Personal Income PDFby Dennis J. Fixler, David S. Johnson, Andrew Craig, and Kevin J. Furlong | SCB, March 2017
- Accounting for the Distribution of Income in the U.S. National Accountsby Dennis J. Fixler and David S. Johnson | Measuring Economic Sustainability and Progress, 2014
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.