The Average Salary of a 21-Year-Old

The Average Salary of a 21-Year-Old
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Experience comes with age, of course, as do higher salaries. The experts at the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics frequently gather earnings data and break the information down in various ways, like a weekly salary by age for women and men. As you probably already know, younger people usually earn less when starting and get paid more as they grow older. How does this information all break down?

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Average Salary in U.S. by Age

The most recent data provided by the BLS for the average salary in U.S. by age is from the second quarter of 2021. For ages ​20 to 24​, the median weekly pay was ​$633​. For ages ​25 to 34​, the average weekly salary was ​$928​, an increase of close to ​$300​ a week. The average weekly pay for ​35- to 44-year-olds​ was ​$1,119​; for ages ​45 to 54​, it was ​$1,134​. Americans aged ​55 to 64​ averaged slightly less than the previous age group, at ​$1,130.​ Interestingly, the ​65​ and older age group earnings were not much lower, with a median weekly pay of ​$989​.

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To convert these into yearly salaries, you can simply multiply each number by 52. These figures are as follows: ages 20-24 = $32,916; 25-34 = $48,256; 35-44 = $58,188; 45-54 = $58,968; 55-64 = $58,760 and 65 and up = $51,428. In every single age group, men earned more than women. The biggest discrepancies can be seen in the 35-44, 45-54 and 55-64 age groups.

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So how much does the average 21-year-old make? Since 21-year-olds fit into the 20-24 age group, they average $663 per week; males earned $656 and females $613. That $43 weekly difference can add up over time to $2,236 a year.

Gross vs. Net Income

To see if your salary falls into these parameters, you can compare your gross salary to the figures shown above; these are all before taxes and other deductions like insurance payments are taken out. Your actual net income (take-home pay) is lower, and this is what you should use to determine a monthly budget. The net pay is the amount on your check or equals what gets direct-deposited into your bank account.

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The withheld taxes include federal, state and local income taxes; Social Security and Medicare contributions (FICA), insurance premiums and wage garnishments also get taken out. The total amounts withheld reflect the amount of money earned, the current tax rates and other factors. The resources provided by the experts at the IRS include a free tax withholding estimator that you can use to estimate these costs; you'll need a current paystub, your last tax return and information on any other income such as investments.

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My Pay Is Below the Average Salary by Age

If you've been unhappy at work and your salary is less than the salary by age for how old you are, it may be time to look for something more rewarding. If you need to change careers but don't have job-related experience in the area you are interested in, there are ways to build up your resume. Don't quit your present job until you are confident that you have the background you need.

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One of the best options for getting this kind of experience is volunteering in your spare time. If you want to work in digital marketing, offer to design a needy organization's website. Some companies offer paid internships that can get you on the right path; these may pay even less but can be well worth the effort. Other tips for finding a new job include switching up the resume to focus more on the education section, using social media for networking and letting everyone you know (except your boss and colleagues) that you're seeking new employment.

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