How Much Do You Need to Make to Be in the Upper 1% of Income in the U.S.?


The concept of income level percentage became well-known during the United States recession when Occupy Wall Street protesters rallied against the wealthiest 1 percent. How much annual income does it take to reach the upper 1 percent of U.S. incomes? According to the Internal Revenue Service, the group starts at a minimum of about $389,000.

Defining the 1 Percent

  • In early 2014, the IRS released updated data on income levels. The data came from 2011 tax returns and broke income groups down according to percentages. Earners in the top 1 percent made a minimum of $388,905 in adjusted gross income. That income threshold was 5.2 percent higher than the previous year's data. Nearly 1.4 million Americans were in this top tier in 2011.

    As a comparison, look at the earning minimum for qualifying for the top 50 percent of earners. In 2011, those making at least $34,823 in adjusted gross income were considered in the top half.

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