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.
- 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.