What Is a Good Annual Salary in the US?

There are a wide variety of influences on a salary in the US. Such factors include age, location, and the type of profession they are in. Before accepting a job, you should know what to aim for.

So, what is a good salary in the US? In this post, I will guide you through US salaries to help you discover what earnings will meet your financial goals!

What Is a Good Annual Salary in the US?

A good annual salary in the US typically ranges from $70,000 to $100,000 for a single person and $100,000 to $150,000 for a family. Factors like education, experience, industry, and location significantly influence salary, with specialized skills or jobs in high-demand sectors often paying more. The average US 2021 salary was $58,260.

This salary enables a good living standard and allows you to pay living expenses but also have money for eating out, shopping, traveling, and other individual necessities and desires.

That said, a larger family might need a higher salary of around or over $100,000 to live comfortably in most parts of the US which is well above the median. If you are earning this amount as an individual, you are among the top 20% of workers in the US.

Living in larger cities such as Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Chicago might require a higher salary considering the income taxes. The top 10% of earners in the US make over $200,000, while the top 1% more than $900,000.

Having a clear understanding of the salary you need to live comfortably in the US, will help you determine which job opportunities to look for. Also, it will help you understand whether you should negotiate more if you already receive an income. Whether your earnings will keep you financially stable depends on your area’s cost of living, lifestyle, and individual needs.

When evaluating a good US salary, you need to consider housing costs, education and healthcare expenses, savings, and taxes. 

A person counting 100 dollar bills at the top of a black calculator and dollar bills on a white table

What Is a Good Monthly Salary in the US?

A salary between $5,800 and $6,500 monthly is considered reasonable in the US. That said, the amount you will need depends on the cost of living in your area and the monthly expenses you need to cover. 

What Is a Good Starting Salary in the US?

Even with a suitable education level and training, you will likely start your career path with less earnings. The average salary for entry-level positions in the US is $40,153 annually. That said, entry-level salaries also depend on several factors, including the cost of living, the demand in the industry, and specific education degrees or skills. 

What Is the Average Salary in the US?

In the data above, I mentioned the amount of income you should have to live comfortably. So, how much does the average American make in a month?

According to the data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for a full-time salary in the second quarter of 2023 is $58,563. This translates to a salary of $28.16 an hour or $4,880 a month.

This wage can serve as a benchmark for comparing your salary with the general population in the US. The minimum wage rate differs from one state to another. On a federal level, the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

Factors that Determine the Employee’s Salary

Now that you know what is a good salary in the US, let’s proceed with the factors that influence earnings. The salary the employees receive depends on the following factors:

  • Education level
  • Profession 
  • Working experience
  • Living area

Education level

The employee’s level of education plays an integral role in the salary they receive. While having a diploma doesn’t always guarantee a successful career, it definitely brings more career opportunities. 

In general, the higher your education level is, the higher your earnings will be. Hence, workers with a doctoral, master’s, and bachelor’s degree are likely to have a higher salary than those with a high school diploma. 

According to the statistics released in May 2023, the median weekly earnings among workers without a high school diploma was $682 in 2022. In comparison, workers with a diploma received over 25 percent more than those without one. 

While each individual experience is different, the level of education you complete can help you develop the knowledge and necessary skills and habits that high-paying jobs require from their workers. 

That said, it is important to remember working fields may have different education requirements. If you have additional skills that can benefit the job, you can expect to receive a higher salary in time. 

A graphic image of a chart of the median usual weekly earnings

Source: US. Bureau of Labor Statistics


The salary varies in different professions and industries. Statistics show that the highest earners are workers with professions such as anesthesiologists, doctors, engineers, lawyers, and software engineers.

The lowest-paid are food preparation and serving related workers. The highest-paying industries include finance, marketing, healthcare, information technology, legal, engineering, real estate, and energy industry.

Based on the BLS, full-time workers employed in management, professional, and related occupations have median weekly earnings. That is $1,775 for men and $1,344 for women.

A graphic image of a chart of the high paying jobs in the US

Source: US. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Working Experience

An equally important role in the salary you will receive is your working experience. Just as with education, the greater the experience, the higher the salary you are likely to receive. With experience, you will likely have the necessary skills the job requires. 

These include problem-solving skills, meeting deadlines, adapting to every situation, and other job responsibilities. When considering a good US salary, you can look at the average salary statistics regarding various age groups.

Living Area

Aside from education level, working experience, and profession, the salaries in the US also differ based on the employee’s location. They are typically related to the cost of living and taxes.

For instance, workers in the same field in cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York have a higher average annual income than those living in other parts of the US. 

At the same time, the living expenses in these areas are higher than the rest, which immediately leads to a higher wage. 

Hence, a specific wage might be considered good in one state but not ideal in another. If you live somewhere with a higher cost of living, you will need more money to meet your financial goals.

A person using a silver pen to write in a small spiral notebook near a black calculator and a 50 dollar bill on top of a white surface


Discovering what is a good salary in the US can be a challenging task, especially for job seekers. The salaries vary from one US state to another and are based on various factors, including education, experience, industry, and location. Whether a salary will enable you to have a comfortable life also depends on your spending expenses and lifestyle.

Important factors to consider are the tax bracket and the living expenses in the state you live in.

Jared Bauman is the owner and editor of PFGeeks.com. He has started and sold several companies, along with owning several investment properties. His interest in personal finance started as a young kid, developed through his entrepreneurial ventures and real estate investments, and continue through his conversations with friends and colleagues.

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