Distribution of Personal Income
BEA has developed a set of prototype statistics that takes one of our primary economic indicators—U.S. personal income—and measures how it is distributed across households. These data provide a new tool for assessing how households share in the nation's economic growth. BEA released prototype distribution of personal income tables in March 2020, along with two papers setting out the context for the estimates and the details of BEA's methodology for estimating the distribution of personal income. This effort builds on at least a decade of BEA research by bringing in new sources of data, including demographic surveys, aggregated tax records, and administrative records.
After obtaining input on the prototype measures via a Federal Register notice and refining our methodology, BEA will begin publishing these new statistics regularly, beginning in December 2020.
- Includes distribution of personal income by decile, quintile, top 1%, and top 5%, 2007—2016.
- Download data for all years, 2007–2016 XLSX Individual years' data appear on separate tabs.
- Measuring Inequality in the National Accounts This paper provides context around the prototype estimates, including descriptions of measurement issues, such as the concept of income.
- Technical Document: A Methodology for Distributing Personal Income This document details BEA's methodology for the prototype estimates and provides summary results.
- 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
- 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.