Anthropologists are social scientists who study humans' development, behavior and origins. They may look at ways of life, physical characteristics of people or remains humans have left behind. Anthropology salaries are dependent upon a number of factors, including their levels of education, industry and years of experience.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics groups anthropologists and archaeologists together in their categorization of their salaries. The salary range for this group of social scientists varies dramatically. The BLS reported in its May 2009 salary survey that the average annual income of an anthropologist or archaeologist in the United States is $57,230, or $27.52 per hour. The 10th percentile earns $31,530 per year, or $15.16 per hour. The 25th percentile earns $39,030 per year, or $18.77 per hour. The 75th percentile earns an average of $71,450 per year, or $34.35 per hour. The 90th percentile earns $87,890 per year, or $42.45 per hour.
Anthropologists working for the federal executive branch earn the highest average incomes at $71,400 per year, or $34.33 per hour. Those in the architectural, engineering and related services industry earn $65,130 on average per year, or $31.31 per hour. Local government pays the third highest average salary for anthropologists at $55,500 per year, or $26.69 per hour. Museums and historical sites pay a close fourth salary at $55,150 on average annually, or $26.51 per year. Anthropologists in employment services earn an average salary of $54,060 per year, or $25.99 per hour.
The highest paying state for anthropologists is Alaska with an average salary of $69,160, or $33.25 per hour. Montana anthropologists earn $69,030 on average per year, or $33.19 per hour. California anthropologists earn $69,010 on average each year, or $33.18 per hour, followed by Pennsylvania at $67,060 per year, or $32.24 per hour. The fifth highest-paying state for anthropologists is Louisiana at $65,360 per year, or $31.42 per hour.
Anthropologists can expect a 28 percent increase in job opportunities through 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those with master’s and doctorate degrees are eligible for the best job opportunities. Competition for tenured professor positions will likely be high. Anthropologists may also find positions in research, marketing and policy. Technical consulting, management and scientific companies also hire anthropologists, and these companies offer anthropologists the best job prospects.