ACTUARIAL NOTE

SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
Office of the Actuary

Number 135
July 1996

Frequency Distribution of Wage Earners by Wage Level
by Jeffrey L. Kunkel

Introduction

100-Percent Wage Data

The purpose of this note is to present data on numbers of wage earners distributed by wage level for
years after 1979. In addition, quartiles of wage distributions will be presented by age group and sex, and
median wage levels will be compared to average wage
amounts.

Wage data have been tabulated on a 100-percent
basis beginning with data for 1978. The reason for
tabulating wage data on such a complete basis is the
need to accurately determine the national average
wage index (AWI). The AWI series, which begins with
the index for 1951, is the basis for indexing earnings
used in the computation of Social Security benefits.
The AWI is also used to index certain Social Security
program amounts such as the contribution and benefit base. Average wages presented in this note are
lower than corresponding AWI amounts, primarily
because the AWI is an index, not a direct measurement of average wages. See Actuarial Notes 103 and
133 for more information on the AWI series.

For purposes of this note, wages are defined as the
amounts subject to Federal income taxes, as currently
reported in box 1 of the Internal Revenue Service’s
Form W-2. Beginning with tax year 1978, employers
have been required to file W-2s for all their employees
with the Social Security Administration. SSA processes the W-2 data for the IRS and records the wage
amounts in its Master Earnings File (MEF).
Data extracted from the MEF on the number of wage
earners and the amount of their wages have been tabulated for each year 1978-94. In addition, a frequency
distribution of the number of workers by wage level
from this source has been tabulated for each year
1985-94. More detailed data are available from a onepercent sample file called the Continuous Work History Sample. Data on the number of workers by wage
level, age group, and sex have been extracted from
this sample for each year 1980-93.
Caution should be used in interpreting the data presented in this note. The data for a given year include
wages for people who entered or left the work force
during the year and include wages for part-time
workers. Thus the average and median wage amounts
from our data are substantially lower than corresponding amounts for full-time workers at a comparable point in time. Another important consideration to
bear in mind is that the wage data include distributions from a particular type of deferred compensation
plan available only to State and local government
employees.1 While such distributions are taxable for
income purposes and so meet our definition, they are
not normally considered to be wages.
1
Distribution from other types of deferred compensation plans are
reported on Form 1099. Data on distributions reported on W-2s
were not available until 1990.

Only overall totals of the number of wage earners and
their corresponding aggregate wages were tabulated
for years 1978-84. Thereafter, frequency distributions
of the number of workers by certain wage levels were
also tabulated. The data were extracted at the end of
the processing cycle for that year—generally in midFebruary, 2 years after the year in which the wages
were earned. For example, the data used in this note
for 1994 was extracted in February 1996.

Sample Wage Data
For years 1978-93, wage data were extracted from the
one-percent Continuous Work History Sample
(CWHS) maintained by SSA’s Office of Research,
Evaluation and Statistics. Pertinent to the purpose of
this note, the CWHS includes demographic information such as date-of-birth and sex. The CWHS wage
data also come from SSA’s MEF. Except in recent
years, data for the CWHS were extracted from the
MEF at an earlier point in time than for the 100-percent data tabulated each year. As a result, the number of wage records from the CWHS, after inflating by
a factor of 100, falls further below the 100-percent
count than could be expected from sampling error.
Table 1 shows the number of wage earners from the
CWHS and from the 100-percent MEF data and the
ratio of the former to the latter.

Table 1.—Comparison of CWHS and 100-percent data on wage earners and
their average wages, 1978-93
Number of workers (in thousands)
Year

CWHS

100Percent

1978
1979
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993

94,878
94,193
95,074
98,116
97,879
104,286
106,822
112,233
113,216
119,617
122,912
126,563
129,437
128,476
129,153
129,652

101,146
105,347
107,804
107,569
105,376
109,672
112,666
117,588
117,919
121,995
124,580
128,633
129,705
128,727
129,448
130,076

Average wage amount

Ratio

CWHS

100Percent

Ratio

93.80%
89.41
88.19
91.21
92.89
95.09
94.81
95.45
96.01
98.05
98.66
98.39
99.79
99.81
99.77
99.67

$13,974.06
13,640.62
11,878.39
12,575.09
13,597.07
14,466.43
15,251.38
15,989.98
16,770.03
17,763.57
18,417.33
19,087.78
19,952.79
20,609.76
21,632.24
22,004.28

$9,833.20
10,748.79
11,886.47
12,980.69
13,727.92
14,409.98
15,250.75
15,954.96
16,543.51
17,456.36
18,300.25
19,021.53
19,932.46
20,552.35
21,660.89
22,005.54

142.11%
126.90
99.93
96.88
99.05
100.39
100.00
100.22
101.37
101.76
100.64
100.35
100.10
100.28
99.87
99.99

Note: Average wage amounts do not reflect any editing of the CWHS data, but do
reflect minor edits in the 100-percent data for years after 1986.
Table 1 also shows the ratio of the average wage
amount from the CWHS as a percentage of the corresponding average from 100-percent data. The large
variation in these ratios for 1978 and 1979 from the
ideal level of 100 percent could not be explained in
terms of the timing of the data tabulation for the 100percent data versus that for the extraction of the data
from the MEF for the CWHS. Examination of MEF
records for a small subsample of CWHS cases
revealed many cases where wage amounts were 100
times the amount of those wages subject to Social
Security taxes. This problem was at least partially
corrected when the wage data were extracted for the
100-percent data tabulations. The MEF itself, however, was left uncorrected. Wage data from the CWHS
are too unreliable to be used for 1978 and 1979
because they were extracted directly from the MEF.
Given the problem of inaccurate wage data for 197879 and the ever-present possibility of employer
reporting errors, all wage data from the CWHS for
subsequent years were subjected to an edit. The edit
was applied whenever the wage amount reported for
a worker was much larger than the corresponding
amount reported as wages subject to Social Security
taxes and the latter amount was less than the taxable
maximum. Under such circumstances, the edited
amount was set equal to the taxable amount for

2

Social Security. Wage data from the CWHS in all subsequent tables reflect this edit.
Wages for 1980 were edited in 534 cases out of a total
950,739 cases, or 0.0562 percent of the total. The corresponding percentage for 1981 dropped to only 0.0026
percent. The 1980 percentage is thus almost 22 times
the 1981 percentage. This suggests that some of the
problems that affected the 1978 and 1979 data persisted into the 1980 data. The percentage of cases
edited for 1980-93 averaged 0.0103 percent.2
Data from the CWHS on the number of wage earners,
by age group and sex for each year 1980-93, are presented in table 2. The number of workers shown for a
given year represents the number who received wages
at any point in time during the year. Table 3 shows the
annual percentage increases in the number of workers
by age group and sex using the data from table 2.

2
After the high percentage for 1980, the second highest percentage
was 0.0206 percent for 1987. Excluding both 1980 and 1987, the
average percentage is only 0.0056 percent

Table 2.—Number of wage earners by age group and sex, 1980-93
[In thousands]
Year

Total

Under
age 18

18-24

25-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65 and
over

16,259
17,603
18,933
21,015
22,022
23,691
24,578
26,766
27,919
29,449
31,082
31,650
31,913
32,226

12,510
12,992
13,296
14,260
14,339
14,996
15,138
16,549
17,429
18,148
18,986
19,806
21,056
21,918

9,137
9,550
9,931
10,516
10,426
10,811
10,646
11,087
11,263
11,302
11,613
11,545
11,581
11,667

2,711
2,726
2,785
2,840
2,883
3,037
3,168
3,392
3,616
3,770
4,078
4,103
4,280
4,472

9,480
10,092
10,699
11,788
12,169
12,964
13,274
14,337
14,694
15,560
16,360
16,619
16,717
16,818

7,247
7,414
7,472
7,992
7,942
8,261
8,210
8,918
9,260
9,654
10,047
10,412
11,000
11,434

5,374
5,547
5,699
6,013
5,909
6,110
5,933
6,129
6,165
6,171
6,323
6,256
6,216
6,290

1,597
1,588
1,595
1,592
1,605
1,696
1,750
1,871
1,971
2,052
2,190
2,198
2,251
2,416

6,779
7,512
8,234
9,227
9,852
10,727
11,304
12,428
13,224
13,889
14,722
15,031
15,196
15,408

5,263
5,578
5,823
6,268
6,397
6,735
6,928
7,632
8,169
8,494
8,939
9,394
10,055
10,485

3,763
4,003
4,232
4,503
4,517
4,701
4,713
4,958
5,098
5,131
5,290
5,290
5,365
5,377

1,114
1,138
1,190
1,248
1,278
1,341
1,418
1,521
1,645
1,718
1,888
1,906
2,030
2,056

Total
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993

95,074
98,115
97,879
104,286
106,822
112,233
113,216
119,617
122,912
126,562
129,437
128,476
129,153
129,652

4,764
4,388
3,644
3,599
4,035
4,556
4,765
5,116
5,310
5,215
4,913
4,268
4,229
4,259

23,380
23,175
21,619
22,256
22,482
22,749
22,182
22,356
22,426
22,790
22,532
21,565
21,194
20,859

26,313
27,681
27,671
29,801
30,636
32,392
32,740
34,352
34,949
35,889
36,232
35,538
34,900
34,252
Male

1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993

54,207
55,270
55,039
57,833
58,656
61,191
61,037
64,180
65,126
67,437
68,723
68,055
68,100
68,239

2,605
2,373
1,964
1,899
2,121
2,392
2,464
2,681
2,784
2,737
2,538
2,207
2,174
2,200

12,678
12,474
11,845
11,932
11,974
12,001
11,615
11,661
11,571
11,921
11,747
11,229
11,016
10,769

15,227
15,782
15,764
16,617
16,936
17,769
17,790
18,583
18,680
19,341
19,518
19,134
18,725
18,312
Female

1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993

40,867
42,846
42,840
46,453
48,167
51,042
52,179
55,437
57,786
59,125
60,714
60,421
61,053
61,414

2,159
2,016
1,680
1,700
1,914
2,165
2,300
2,434
2,526
2,478
2,374
2,060
2,054
2,058

10,701
10,701
9,774
10,324
10,508
10,748
10,567
10,695
10,855
10,869
10,785
10,337
10,178
10,090

11,086
11,898
11,906
13,184
13,700
14,624
14,950
15,769
16,269
16,547
16,715
16,404
16,175
15,940

3

Table 3.—Annual percentage increase in number of wage earners over prior year’s level
by age group and sex, 1981-93
Year

Total

Under
age 18

18-24

25-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65 and
over

8.27
7.56
11.00
4.79
7.58
3.74
8.90
4.31
5.48
5.55
1.83
0.83
0.98

3.85
2.34
7.25
0.55
4.58
0.95
9.32
5.32
4.13
4.62
4.32
6.31
4.09

4.52
3.99
5.89
-0.86
3.69
-1.53
4.14
1.59
0.35
2.75
-0.59
0.31
0.74

0.55
2.16
1.98
1.51
5.34
4.31
7.07
6.60
4.26
8.17
0.61
4.31
4.49

6.46
6.02
10.18
3.23
6.53
2.39
8.01
2.49
5.89
5.14
1.58
0.59
0.60

2.30
0.78
6.96
-0.63
4.02
-0.62
8.62
3.84
4.26
4.07
3.63
5.65
3.95

3.22
2.74
5.51
-1.73
3.40
-2.90
3.30
0.59
0.10
2.46
-1.06
-0.64
1.19

-0.56
0.44
-0.19
0.82
5.67
3.18
6.91
5.35
4.11
6.73
0.37
2.41
7.33

10.81
9.61
12.06
6.77
8.88
5.38
9.94
6.41
5.03
6.00
2.10
1.10
1.40

5.99
4.39
7.64
2.06
5.28
2.87
10.16
7.04
3.98
5.24
5.09
7.04
4.28

6.38
5.72
6.40
0.31
4.07
0.26
5.20
2.82
0.65
3.10
0.00
1.42
0.22

2.15
4.57
4.87
2.40
4.93
5.74
7.26
8.15
4.44
9.90
0.95
6.51
1.28

Total
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993

3.20
-0.24
6.55
2.43
5.07
0.88
5.65
2.76
2.97
2.27
-0.74
0.53
0.39

-7.89
-16.96
-1.24
12.11
12.91
4.59
7.37
3.79
-1.79
-5.79
-13.13
-0.91
0.71

-0.88
-6.71
2.95
1.02
1.19
-2.49
0.78
0.31
1.62
-1.13
-4.29
-1.72
-1.58

5.20
-0.04
7.70
2.80
5.73
1.07
4.92
1.74
2.69
0.96
-1.92
-1.80
-1.86
Male

1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993

1.96
-0.42
5.08
1.42
4.32
-0.25
5.15
1.47
3.55
1.91
-0.97
0.07
0.20

-8.91
-17.24
-3.31
11.69
12.78
3.01
8.81
3.84
-1.69
-7.27
-13.04
-1.50
1.20

-1.61
-5.04
0.73
0.35
0.23
-3.22
0.40
-0.77
3.03
-1.46
-4.41
-1.90
-2.24

3.65
-0.11
5.41
1.92
4.92
0.12
4.46
0.52
3.54
0.92
-1.97
-2.14
-2.21
Female

1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993

4

4.84
-0.01
8.43
3.69
5.97
2.23
6.24
4.24
2.32
2.69
-0.48
1.05
0.59

-6.62
-16.67
1.19
12.59
13.11
6.24
5.83
3.78
-1.90
-4.20
-13.23
-0.29
0.20

0.00
-8.66
5.63
1.78
2.28
-1.68
1.21
1.50
0.13
-0.77
-4.15
-1.54
-0.87

7.33
0.07
10.73
3.91
6.75
2.23
5.48
3.17
1.71
1.02
-1.86
-1.40
-1.45

Average Wages and Quartiles of Wage Distributions
Figure 1 shows the average wage of all workers compared to that for the median wage over the period
1980-94. The data used for 1980-93 is based on the
CWHS. For 1994, 100-percent (non-sample) data were
used. The median wage for 1994 was estimated by
interpolating on the cumulative frequency distribution of workers by wage level.

Figure 2.—Cumulative increase in average and median wages,
1980-94
100%
90%
80%
70%
60%

Average wage

Median wage
50%

Figure 1.—Average and median wages, 1980-94
40%
$24

30%
20%

$21
Average wage

10%

Amount [In thousands]

$18

0%
1980

$15
$12

Median wage

$9
$6
$3
$0
1980

1982

1984

1986

1988

1990

1992

1994

Note that as time increases the curve for the average
wage appears to diverge from that for the median
wage. In fact, over the 1984-94 period, the average
wage increase is almost 5 percentage points more
than the comparable increase in the median wage.
For the 1980-94 period, however, the increase in each
was very nearly the same. These facts are illustrated
in figure 2, which shows the cumulative increase from
1980 in both the average wage and the median wage.
As indicated in figure 2, median wage growth exceeds
average wage growth in the early 1980s, and then its
growth slows relative to average wage growth. If measurement of cumulative increases begins in a later
year such as 1983 or 1984, then the median wage
curve would fall below, and stay below, the average
wage curve for all years thereafter through 1994. See
table 4 for a numerical comparison of the nominal
wage amounts and their annual increases. (Table 4
also shows comparable data in 1994 dollars. The conversion to 1994 dollars is based on the average
annual “Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers.”)

1982

1984

1986

1988

1990

1992

1994

Caution should be exercised in interpreting the data
from table 4 and the above graphs. Recall that table 1
compared the number of workers from the CWHS to
those from 100-percent data, and the number of
workers was less for the CWHS data. As noted earlier, the median and average wage amounts for each
year 1980-93 are based on the CWHS data. It may be
that the relatively low number of workers in the early
1980s affects the relationship between the median
and average wage amounts.
Table 5 shows average wage amounts by age group
and sex for each year 1980-93 from the CWHS. Note
that the overall averages in table 5 are somewhat
lower than those shown in table 1 due to the edits
described earlier. Table 6 shows annual percentage
increases in the average wage amounts in 1994 dollars.
Tables 7, 8, and 9 present first, second, and third
quartiles, respectively, of the frequency distribution of
workers by wage level. The quartiles are given by age
group and sex for each year 1980-93. Again, the data
are from the CWHS. Table 10 shows the annual percentage increases in the median wage (the middle
quartile), in 1994 dollars, by age group and sex.

5

Table 4.—Median and average wage amount, 1980-94
Current dollars
Median

Average

Median

Average

Difference

1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994

$8,160
9,253
10,178
10,829
11,273
11,872
12,322
12,938
13,284
13,887
14,522
15,000
15,545
15,736
16,046

$11,402
12,573
13,591
14,440
15,220
15,972
16,749
17,593
18,391
19,064
19,935
20,581
21,620
21,975
22,401


13.395
9.997
6.396
4.100
5.314
3.790
4.999
2.674
4.539
4.573
3.292
3.633
1.229
1.970


10.270
8.097
6.247
5.402
4.941
4.865
5.039
4.536
3.659
4.569
3.241
5.048
1.642
1.939


3.124
1.900
0.149
-1.302
0.373
-1.074
-0.040
-1.862
0.880
0.004
0.051
-1.415
-0.413
0.031

Year

Median

Average

Median

Average

Difference

1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994

$14,676
15,086
15,631
16,113
16,079
16,352
16,662
16,879
16,641
16,597
16,466
16,322
16,420
16,139
16,046

$20,507
20,498
20,872
21,485
21,710
21,999
22,647
22,952
23,039
22,785
22,604
22,395
22,838
22,537
22,401


2.794
3.613
3.084
-0.211
1.698
1.896
1.302
-1.410
-0.264
-0.789
-0.875
0.600
-1.711
-0.576


-0.044
1.825
2.937
1.047
1.331
2.946
1.347
0.379
-1.102
-0.794
-0.925
1.978
-1.318
-0.603


2.838
1.788
0.147
-1.258
0.367
-1.050
-0.044
-1.789
0.838
0.005
0.050
-1.378
-0.393
0.027

1994 dollars

6

Percent increase over prior year’s level

Year

Percent increase over prior year’s level

Table 5.—Average wage amounts by age group and sex, 1980-93
Year

Total

Under
age 18

18-24

25-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65 and
over

$15,802
17,185
18,359
19,402
20,572
21,446
22,448
23,489
24,205
25,035
25,922
26,456
27,625
27,917

$16,800
18,173
19,331
20,589
21,854
22,945
24,124
25,699
27,121
28,145
29,172
29,886
31,726
32,209

$15,606
17,021
17,912
18,941
20,053
20,909
21,827
22,656
24,053
24,302
25,081
25,762
26,980
27,259

$8,139
9,009
9,647
10,477
11,034
11,667
12,343
12,722
13,605
13,741
14,373
14,493
14,773
14,407

20,933
22,723
24,162
25,303
26,979
27,983
29,229
30,464
31,402
32,061
32,980
33,174
34,605
34,818

22,577
24,375
25,933
27,416
29,340
30,843
32,576
34,757
36,952
37,986
39,109
39,539
42,030
42,365

20,661
22,417
23,576
24,745
26,433
27,583
28,936
30,192
32,467
32,399
33,306
33,983
35,773
35,749

10,503
11,566
12,395
13,497
14,464
15,207
16,209
16,696
18,236
18,119
19,336
19,110
19,809
18,616

8,627
9,746
10,818
11,863
12,657
13,547
14,484
15,443
16,208
17,165
18,078
19,028
19,946
20,384

8,846
9,929
10,860
11,885
12,562
13,258
14,107
15,115
15,978
16,959
18,003
19,186
20,453
21,134

8,385
9,544
10,286
11,189
11,706
12,234
12,878
13,340
13,878
14,562
15,251
16,040
16,793
17,327

4,751
5,443
5,960
6,623
6,727
7,191
7,569
7,833
8,058
8,509
8,617
9,169
9,187
9,461

Total
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993

$11,402
12,573
13,591
14,440
15,220
15,972
16,749
17,593
18,391
19,064
19,935
20,581
21,620
21,975

$1,422
1,507
1,475
1,419
1,440
1,486
1,510
1,575
1,603
1,620
1,660
1,670
1,645
1,671

$5,879
6,336
6,434
6,533
6,826
7,135
7,353
7,440
7,577
7,820
8,011
7,879
7,974
8,012

$11,709
12,802
13,602
14,264
14,993
15,739
16,418
16,934
17,553
18,158
18,829
19,162
19,802
20,051
Male

1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993

14,759
16,184
17,290
18,311
19,412
20,346
21,304
22,374
23,482
24,043
25,039
25,530
26,884
27,207

1,562
1,656
1,621
1,542
1,550
1,597
1,599
1,660
1,691
1,689
1,745
1,731
1,698
1,727

6,838
7,313
7,225
7,264
7,661
7,997
8,153
8,210
8,315
8,549
8,757
8,477
8,610
8,659

14,412
15,623
16,266
16,954
17,883
18,760
19,459
20,060
20,807
21,309
21,930
21,992
22,670
22,921
Female

1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993

6,949
7,914
8,838
9,620
10,116
10,728
11,420
12,058
12,653
13,385
14,158
15,008
15,749
16,161

1,253
1,333
1,304
1,281
1,319
1,363
1,415
1,481
1,506
1,543
1,570
1,605
1,588
1,611

4,742
5,198
5,477
5,689
5,874
6,174
6,473
6,601
6,792
7,021
7,198
7,231
7,286
7,320

7,997
9,059
10,076
10,874
11,421
12,069
12,800
13,250
13,816
14,474
15,208
15,862
16,481
16,754

7

Table 6.—Percentage increase in the average wage, in 1994 dollars, over prior year’s level, 1981-93
Year

Total

Under
age 18

18-24

25-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65 and
over

-1.41
0.62
2.39
1.64
0.67
2.76
0.96
-1.05
-1.33
-1.77
-2.06
1.37
-1.88

-1.94
0.20
3.19
1.75
1.38
3.22
2.78
1.34
-1.00
-1.66
-1.69
3.05
-1.43

-1.13
-0.87
2.45
1.49
0.68
2.49
0.14
1.95
-3.61
-2.08
-1.43
1.67
-1.90

0.35
0.86
5.22
0.96
2.10
3.86
-0.56
2.69
-3.65
-0.76
-3.23
-1.05
-5.31

-1.60
0.16
1.46
2.21
0.15
2.55
0.56
-1.02
-2.60
-2.41
-3.47
1.26
-2.31

-2.13
0.22
2.43
2.59
1.51
3.69
2.94
2.09
-1.93
-2.32
-2.99
3.20
-2.14

-1.65
-0.93
1.69
2.40
0.76
2.99
0.66
3.27
-4.79
-2.47
-2.09
2.19
-2.97

-0.17
0.94
5.49
2.73
1.52
4.65
-0.63
4.88
-5.21
1.25
-5.16
0.63
-8.76

2.41
4.56
6.25
2.28
3.35
4.97
2.86
0.78
1.04
-0.08
1.00
1.76
-0.78

1.76
3.03
6.03
1.32
1.91
4.47
3.37
1.51
1.25
0.72
2.26
3.49
0.33

3.17
1.52
5.39
0.29
0.91
3.35
-0.06
-0.10
0.11
-0.64
0.93
1.64
0.17

3.84
3.17
7.66
-2.64
3.23
3.32
-0.16
-1.20
0.74
-3.93
2.12
-2.74
-0.01

Total
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993

-0.04
1.82
2.94
1.05
1.33
2.95
1.35
0.38
-1.10
-0.79
-0.92
1.98
-1.32

-3.87
-7.85
-6.80
-2.65
-0.44
-0.20
0.64
-2.29
-3.59
-2.74
-3.45
-4.46
-1.32

-2.30
-4.34
-1.63
0.15
0.94
1.17
-2.38
-2.19
-1.54
-2.81
-5.61
-1.76
-2.45

-0.89
0.09
1.60
0.76
1.37
2.41
-0.49
-0.47
-1.31
-1.62
-2.34
0.32
-1.68
Male

1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993

-0.60
0.64
2.61
1.62
1.21
2.80
1.33
0.78
-2.31
-1.20
-2.16
2.23
-1.74

-3.88
-7.78
-7.87
-3.62
-0.50
-1.73
0.19
-2.22
-4.72
-1.93
-4.80
-4.78
-1.28

-3.06
-6.94
-2.58
1.09
0.80
0.10
-2.85
-2.75
-1.90
-2.82
-7.12
-1.40
-2.34

-1.74
-1.93
0.99
1.11
1.29
1.83
-0.54
-0.40
-2.29
-2.36
-3.76
0.07
-1.83
Female

1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993

8

3.23
5.19
5.46
0.80
2.40
4.51
1.87
0.76
0.93
0.34
1.73
1.87
-0.36

-3.55
-7.87
-4.80
-1.31
-0.21
1.92
0.99
-2.33
-2.23
-3.52
-1.85
-3.95
-1.49

-0.64
-0.74
0.64
-1.02
1.49
2.93
-1.62
-1.20
-1.38
-2.73
-3.60
-2.17
-2.46

2.70
4.76
4.57
0.68
2.04
4.12
-0.13
0.13
-0.05
-0.32
0.09
0.87
-1.30

Table 7.—First quartile wage distribution amounts by age group and sex, 1980-93
Year

Total

Under
age 18

18-24

25-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65 and
over

$5,664
6,515
7,208
7,642
7,999
8,474
8,655
9,211
9,385
9,892
10,299
10,522
10,850
10,868

$6,274
7,079
7,649
8,197
8,506
8,874
9,167
9,850
10,227
10,764
11,196
11,566
12,093
12,346

$5,523
6,325
6,631
7,078
7,103
7,269
7,259
7,330
7,411
7,554
7,790
8,000
8,096
8,017

$1,650
1,947
1,917
2,100
1,975
2,062
2,080
2,037
2,000
2,116
2,016
2,122
1,870
1,642

10,511
11,608
12,457
13,000
13,708
14,215
14,307
14,816
14,736
15,232
15,484
15,217
15,426
15,320

11,159
12,248
12,965
13,650
14,435
15,125
15,571
16,393
16,875
17,290
17,539
17,667
18,200
18,338

9,360
10,252
10,638
11,189
11,528
11,757
11,894
11,950
11,882
11,936
12,048
11,872
11,846
11,076

1,959
2,250
2,189
2,408
2,293
2,400
2,514
2,400
2,400
2,426
2,400
2,400
2,332
1,745

3,069
3,775
4,338
4,748
4,920
5,348
5,631
6,092
6,500
6,889
7,330
7,752
8,081
8,166

3,694
4,358
4,846
5,316
5,428
5,718
6,000
6,477
6,958
7,376
7,826
8,338
8,862
9,193

3,384
3,960
4,274
4,706
4,772
4,900
5,057
5,146
5,271
5,505
5,712
6,096
6,184
6,374

1,362
1,651
1,636
1,788
1,665
1,793
1,712
1,712
1,614
1,795
1,647
1,842
1,457
1,540

Total
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993

$2,808
3,275
3,682
3,942
4,085
4,318
4,400
4,592
4,660
4,985
5,316
5,567
5,694
5,702

$365
405
375
375
381
399
402
425
423
420
430
445
450
446

$1,760
1,900
1,906
1,941
2,103
2,209
2,225
2,273
2,230
2,386
2,430
2,375
2,392
2,382

$4,306
5,014
5,624
5,954
6,267
6,646
6,849
7,051
7,155
7,537
7,942
8,011
8,223
8,186
Male

1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993

4,157
4,773
5,201
5,468
5,790
6,134
6,154
6,338
6,213
6,666
7,066
7,126
7,286
7,200

388
423
392
389
391
411
408
431
432
423
431
444
448
445

2,216
2,339
2,229
2,235
2,482
2,587
2,570
2,613
2,449
2,702
2,772
2,643
2,648
2,630

6,726
7,438
7,866
7,967
8,560
9,096
9,222
9,495
9,436
9,925
10,324
9,921
10,120
10,094
Female

1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993

1,869
2,260
2,628
2,864
2,924
3,097
3,226
3,411
3,586
3,796
4,081
4,404
4,519
4,600

337
387
356
360
368
384
400
416
416
415
428
446
451
448

1,376
1,534
1,608
1,667
1,763
1,872
1,930
1,985
2,031
2,095
2,137
2,125
2,152
2,156

2,610
3,206
3,833
4,306
4,418
4,710
4,955
5,125
5,361
5,615
6,004
6,300
6,547
6,560

9

Table 8.—Second quartile (median) wage distribution amounts by age group and sex, 1980-93
Year

Total

Under
age 18

18-24

25-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65 and
over

$12,480
13,914
15,000
16,019
16,860
17,692
18,260
19,124
19,490
20,273
20,940
21,413
22,050
22,204

$12,873
14,200
15,117
16,275
17,085
17,915
18,600
19,718
20,344
21,250
22,050
22,894
23,900
24,374

$11,797
13,000
13,684
14,686
15,289
15,880
16,276
16,753
17,066
17,604
18,082
18,565
19,056
19,132

$3,975
4,500
4,649
5,104
5,137
5,460
5,725
5,760
5,900
6,064
6,084
6,329
6,300
6,197

18,514
20,240
21,148
22,428
23,520
24,405
24,988
25,704
26,154
26,754
27,282
27,482
28,124
28,120

19,266
20,968
22,038
23,670
24,918
25,971
26,893
28,085
28,890
29,945
30,728
31,475
32,617
32,920

17,302
18,642
19,238
20,458
21,516
22,298
22,896
23,611
24,087
24,604
25,160
25,225
25,913
25,748

4,518
5,066
5,282
5,793
6,000
6,382
6,785
6,650
6,902
7,001
7,074
7,200
7,340
6,912

7,355
8,525
9,492
10,411
11,055
11,788
12,479
13,347
13,987
14,715
15,395
16,130
16,848
17,090

7,761
8,852
9,648
10,537
11,034
11,610
12,263
13,225
13,866
14,729
15,506
16,385
17,344
17,888

7,466
8,496
9,153
10,057
10,337
10,664
11,061
11,494
11,827
12,366
12,816
13,408
13,985
14,281

3,312
3,830
3,990
4,363
4,270
4,572
4,733
4,898
4,978
5,236
5,200
5,550
5,356
5,510

Total
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993

$8,160
9,253
10,178
10,829
11,273
11,872
12,322
12,938
13,284
13,887
14,522
15,000
15,545
15,736

$925
978
915
877
912
954
965
1,027
1,032
1,027
1,064
1,081
1,062
1,072

$4,588
4,930
4,884
4,958
5,237
5,505
5,594
5,590
5,465
5,811
5,965
5,809
5,876
5,849

$10,063
11,205
12,089
12,595
13,200
13,853
14,331
14,803
15,200
15,685
16,266
16,480
17,015
17,142
Male

1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993

11,692
12,988
13,783
14,594
15,255
15,986
16,443
17,108
17,572
18,012
18,686
18,954
19,546
19,684

987
1,046
963
919
954
983
988
1,060
1,067
1,047
1,088
1,088
1,069
1,078

5,588
5,911
5,672
5,675
6,119
6,424
6,418
6,399
6,061
6,531
6,693
6,394
6,526
6,481

13,240
14,400
14,861
15,385
16,131
16,854
17,275
17,779
18,309
18,592
19,109
19,072
19,542
19,645
Female

1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993

10

5,581
6,549
7,358
7,995
8,248
8,721
9,171
9,725
10,132
10,674
11,267
11,920
12,409
12,656

855
913
866
839
876
925
946
999
996
1,003
1,041
1,068
1,056
1,064

3,637
3,969
4,093
4,256
4,407
4,660
4,818
4,865
4,933
5,078
5,250
5,225
5,266
5,266

7,060
8,207
9,243
9,950
10,372
10,915
11,479
11,950
12,318
12,811
13,420
13,945
14,472
14,644

Table 9.—Third quartile wage distribution amounts by age group and sex, 1980-93
Year

Total

Under
age 18

18-24

25-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65 and
over

$21,575
23,543
24,678
26,213
27,528
28,658
29,675
30,538
31,281
32,509
33,590
34,504
35,682
35,999

$22,147
24,037
25,237
27,004
28,516
29,733
30,840
32,144
33,161
34,718
36,000
37,362
38,975
39,816

$20,519
22,320
23,183
24,674
25,922
27,026
27,880
28,608
29,427
30,486
31,487
32,356
33,438
33,818

$8,132
9,166
9,847
11,210
11,759
12,561
13,193
13,239
13,394
13,809
13,600
14,045
14,074
13,924

26,540
28,922
30,380
31,946
33,708
35,076
36,332
37,115
38,062
39,139
40,171
41,009
42,201
42,601

27,713
30,130
31,711
33,690
35,737
37,411
38,991
40,309
41,769
43,456
44,800
46,168
47,984
48,946

25,556
27,874
29,200
30,741
32,655
34,080
35,443
36,261
37,227
38,568
39,784
40,666
42,056
42,783

11,356
12,600
13,134
15,275
15,999
17,146
18,000
17,882
18,500
18,752
18,400
18,476
18,521
17,500

11,925
13,781
15,328
16,800
17,988
19,166
20,389
21,696
22,646
23,870
25,049
26,309
27,380
27,833

12,128
13,751
15,136
16,496
17,467
18,465
19,653
21,045
22,039
23,365
24,746
26,240
27,765
28,740

11,667
13,208
14,385
15,615
16,358
17,188
18,074
18,769
19,450
20,473
21,391
22,465
23,400
24,000

5,642
6,522
7,044
8,118
8,298
8,865
9,368
9,716
9,706
10,178
10,231
10,839
11,013
11,364

Total
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993

$15,827
17,526
18,768
20,027
21,000
22,027
22,930
23,913
24,698
25,693
26,762
27,723
28,790
29,223

$1,960
2,050
1,953
1,859
1,906
1,965
2,012
2,110
2,176
2,184
2,262
2,283
2,240
2,287

$8,527
9,196
9,424
9,560
9,915
10,384
10,712
10,892
11,039
11,359
11,611
11,370
11,608
11,687

$16,683
18,173
19,056
19,960
20,963
21,905
22,718
23,351
24,091
24,874
25,731
26,222
26,991
27,241
Male

1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993

20,670
22,672
23,924
25,500
26,785
27,958
28,947
29,952
30,886
31,826
32,958
33,875
35,143
35,542

2,147
2,240
2,135
1,987
2,020
2,072
2,090
2,200
2,256
2,258
2,355
2,350
2,282
2,332

9,890
10,510
10,408
10,415
10,904
11,408
11,632
11,786
11,979
12,206
12,443
12,035
12,383
12,574

20,054
21,667
22,394
23,503
24,666
25,779
26,535
27,177
28,000
28,642
29,446
29,788
30,523
30,676
Female

1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993

10,159
11,629
12,992
14,087
14,850
15,711
16,660
17,620
18,397
19,366
20,382
21,515
22,493
23,009

1,758
1,858
1,782
1,721
1,788
1,861
1,928
2,021
2,090
2,101
2,172
2,226
2,198
2,240

7,305
7,980
8,393
8,652
8,827
9,264
9,692
9,884
10,115
10,383
10,652
10,609
10,647
10,636

11,574
13,160
14,554
15,522
16,340
17,254
18,200
18,876
19,577
20,433
21,334
22,184
23,021
23,395

11

Table 10.—Percentage increase in the median wage, in 1994 dollars, over prior year’s level, 1981-93
Year

Total

Under
age 18

18-24

25-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65 and
over

1.06
1.55
3.47
0.89
1.33
1.33
1.04
-2.14
-0.76
-2.01
-1.87
-0.03
-2.23

-0.01
0.28
4.31
0.64
1.25
1.93
2.28
-0.92
-0.35
-1.56
-0.36
1.34
-0.98

-0.10
-0.85
3.99
-0.20
0.29
0.62
-0.69
-2.18
-1.59
-2.55
-1.47
-0.36
-2.52

2.63
-2.69
6.37
-3.53
2.63
2.94
-2.93
-1.64
-1.95
-4.80
-0.17
-3.37
-4.49

-0.90
-1.58
2.75
0.53
0.20
0.52
-0.76
-2.29
-2.41
-3.26
-3.34
-0.65
-2.92

-1.34
-0.99
4.06
0.92
0.64
1.66
0.76
-1.22
-1.11
-2.65
-1.70
0.60
-2.01

-2.33
-2.79
3.03
0.82
0.07
0.81
-0.51
-2.04
-2.55
-2.98
-3.79
-0.27
-3.53

1.62
-1.78
6.26
-0.72
2.70
4.39
-5.45
-0.33
-3.23
-4.14
-2.33
-1.03
-8.56

5.07
4.88
6.27
1.79
2.97
3.92
3.19
0.63
0.37
-0.74
0.55
1.40
-1.51

3.39
2.67
5.82
0.38
1.60
3.70
4.05
0.68
1.34
-0.12
1.40
2.75
0.14

3.16
1.48
6.45
-1.47
-0.38
1.83
0.25
-1.19
-0.25
-1.67
0.39
1.25
-0.85

4.84
-1.86
5.94
-6.18
3.38
1.64
-0.16
-2.41
0.34
-5.77
2.43
-6.33
-0.09

Total
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993

2.79
3.61
3.08
-0.21
1.70
1.90
1.30
-1.41
-0.26
-0.79
-0.87
0.60
-1.71

-4.21
-11.86
-7.12
-0.31
1.00
-0.68
2.68
-3.51
-5.10
-1.71
-2.49
-4.59
-2.05

-2.59
-6.68
-1.65
1.26
1.50
-0.24
-3.58
-6.13
1.45
-2.61
-6.55
-1.80
-3.35

0.93
1.63
0.94
0.46
1.34
1.56
-0.34
-1.40
-1.55
-1.61
-2.78
0.23
-2.18
Male

1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993

0.69
-0.04
2.59
0.20
1.19
0.98
0.38
-1.37
-2.21
-1.57
-2.66
0.11
-2.22

-3.94
-13.26
-7.57
-0.44
-0.51
-1.33
3.52
-3.33
-6.43
-1.36
-4.05
-4.65
-2.04

-4.11
-9.61
-3.07
3.36
1.37
-1.91
-3.81
-9.04
2.81
-2.78
-8.33
-0.92
-3.57

-1.41
-2.79
0.30
0.51
0.89
0.63
-0.71
-1.11
-3.13
-2.48
-4.23
-0.53
-2.39
Female

1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993

12

6.37
5.83
5.27
-1.10
2.10
3.24
2.31
0.05
0.50
0.15
1.52
1.06
-0.98

-3.19
-10.68
-6.17
0.16
1.92
0.39
1.88
-4.22
-3.93
-1.58
-1.53
-4.04
-2.15

-1.07
-2.86
0.75
-0.74
2.10
1.51
-2.58
-2.63
-1.80
-1.91
-4.50
-2.15
-2.91

5.37
6.09
4.30
-0.07
1.62
3.25
0.44
-1.02
-0.78
-0.62
-0.28
0.74
-1.75

7, 8, and 9. From table 12, for example, the percentage of wage earners with less than $5,000 in wages in
1993 is 23.123 percent, and 25.983 percent with
wages under $6,000. Thus the first quartile wage
must be between $4,999 and $5,999, inclusive. By linear interpolation, the estimated first quartile is about
$5,655. The corresponding estimate from the CWHS
data, as shown in table 7, is $5,702. The difference
between the two estimates, $47, is less than 1 percent. Second and third quartile estimates from table
12 will be less reliable, compared to first quartile estimates, because the second and third quartiles fall
between $5,000 increments, instead of $1,000 increments, in the wage intervals.

Frequency Distributions by Wage Level
Table 11 presents frequency distributions of the number of wage earners by wage level for each year 198594 based on complete wage data from the Master
Earnings File.
Based on data from table 11, the cumulative frequency distribution of the number of wage earners, as
a percent of the total number with wages in each
year, is presented for each year 1985-94 in table 12.
From table 12, quartiles of the wage distribution can
be estimated and, except for 1994 values, can be compared to the corresponding values presented in tables

Table 11.—Frequency distribution of wage earners by wage level, 1985-94
[In thousands]
Wage level
$1 —
$999
1,000 —
1,999
2,000 —
2,999
3,000 —
3,999
4,000 —
4,999
5,000 —
5,999
6,000 —
6,999
7,000 —
7,999
8,000 —
8,999
9,000 —
9,999
10,000 — 14,999
15,000 — 19,999
20,000 — 24,999
25,000 — 29,999
30,000 — 34,999
35,000 — 39,999
40,000 — 44,999
45,000 — 49,999
50,000 — 54,999
55,000 — 59,999
60,000 — 64,999
65,000 — 69,999
70,000 — 74,999
75,000 — 79,999
80,000 — 84,999
85,000 — 89,999
90,000 — 94,999
95,000 — 99,999
$100,000 and over
Total

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

11,114
6,885
5,757
4,865
4,345
4,096
3,885
3,810
3,712
3,698
17,203
14,003
10,394
7,892
5,500
3,482
2,130
1,316
848
553
394
285
214
166
133
104
87
72
644
117,588

11,074
6,829
5,699
4,807
4,259
4,036
3,802
3,732
3,531
3,543
16,732
13,993
10,580
8,086
5,711
3,727
2,344
1,469
959
624
449
324
242
189
150
119
99
81
730
117,919

10,973
6,895
5,726
4,863
4,295
4,056
3,824
3,723
3,577
3,511
16,741
14,478
11,191
8,606
6,248
4,201
2,710
1,699
1,120
735
523
379
285
220
173
137
116
95
895
121,995

11,126
6,982
5,776
4,905
4,335
4,054
3,860
3,716
3,578
3,415
16,392
14,577
11,518
8,841
6,596
4,570
3,004
1,927
1,271
841
602
433
329
254
199
158
133
111
1,078
124,580

10,740
6,760
5,670
4,885
4,332
4,049
3,917
3,741
3,671
3,514
16,877
15,037
12,004
9,227
7,114
5,089
3,420
2,262
1,514
1,014
720
513
391
302
231
182
151
124
1,182
128,633

10,278
6,507
5,485
4,768
4,258
3,966
3,849
3,680
3,559
3,510
16,638
15,030
12,210
9,469
7,461
5,514
3,808
2,565
1,729
1,151
822
584
442
343
263
206
170
139
1,302
129,705

9,873
6,213
5,266
4,594
4,150
3,873
3,761
3,641
3,557
3,499
16,076
14,549
12,077
9,457
7,528
5,751
4,088
2,806
1,926
1,302
929
663
497
389
298
232
192
158
1,383
128,727

10,004
6,165
5,160
4,491
4,044
3,754
3,601
3,497
3,368
3,353
15,780
14,279
12,140
9,578
7,568
6,025
4,462
3,121
2,173
1,487
1,057
761
566
436
341
263
214
176
1,584
129,448

10,248
6,160
5,168
4,480
4,022
3,720
3,563
3,465
3,330
3,291
15,531
14,128
12,137
9,661
7,641
6,016
4,516
3,221
2,276
1,577
1,139
825
623
478
377
295
240
197
1,752
130,079

10,381
6,194
5,190
4,512
4,029
3,719
3,542
3,442
3,314
3,261
15,551
14,177
12,281
9,933
7,899
6,224
4,693
3,435
2,495
1,742
1,282
926
697
533
412
325
261
212
1,845
132,509

13

Table 12.—Cumulative frequency distribution of wage earners as a percent of their total number
by wage level, 1985-94
Wage less
than or
equal to...
$999
1,999
2,999
3,999
4,999
5,999
6,999
7,999
8,999
9,999
14,999
19,999
24,999
29,999
34,999
39,999
44,999
49,999
54,999
59,999
64,999
69,999
74,999
79,999
84,999
89,999
94,999
99,999
Total

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

9.452
15.308
20.203
24.341
28.035
31.518
34.822
38.062
41.219
44.365
58.994
70.903
79.742
86.454
91.131
94.092
95.904
97.023
97.745
98.215
98.550
98.792
98.974
99.115
99.228
99.317
99.391
99.452
100.000

9.391
15.182
20.015
24.092
27.704
31.127
34.351
37.516
40.510
43.515
57.704
69.571
78.543
85.400
90.243
93.403
95.391
96.637
97.450
97.979
98.360
98.634
98.840
99.000
99.127
99.227
99.312
99.381
100.000

8.995
14.647
19.340
23.326
26.846
30.171
33.306
36.357
39.289
42.168
55.890
67.758
76.931
83.986
89.107
92.551
94.772
96.165
97.084
97.686
98.115
98.425
98.659
98.839
98.981
99.093
99.188
99.266
100.000

8.931
14.535
19.172
23.109
26.588
29.843
32.941
35.924
38.796
41.537
54.695
66.396
75.641
82.738
88.033
91.701
94.112
95.659
96.679
97.354
97.838
98.185
98.449
98.653
98.813
98.939
99.046
99.135
100.000

8.349
13.604
18.012
21.809
25.177
28.325
31.370
34.278
37.132
39.864
52.984
64.674
74.006
81.179
86.709
90.666
93.324
95.083
96.260
97.048
97.608
98.007
98.311
98.546
98.725
98.867
98.984
99.081
100.000

7.924
12.941
17.169
20.845
24.128
27.186
30.153
32.990
35.734
38.441
51.268
62.856
72.270
79.570
85.322
89.573
92.509
94.487
95.820
96.707
97.341
97.791
98.132
98.396
98.599
98.758
98.889
98.996
100.000

7.670
12.496
16.587
20.155
23.379
26.388
29.309
32.137
34.900
37.618
50.106
61.409
70.791
78.137
83.986
88.453
91.630
93.809
95.306
96.317
97.039
97.554
97.940
98.242
98.474
98.654
98.803
98.926
100.000

7.728
12.491
16.477
19.946
23.071
25.971
28.753
31.454
34.056
36.646
48.836
59.867
69.246
76.645
82.491
87.145
90.592
93.003
94.682
95.830
96.647
97.235
97.672
98.009
98.272
98.475
98.641
98.777
100.000

7.878
12.614
16.587
20.031
23.123
25.983
28.722
31.386
33.946
36.476
48.416
59.277
68.608
76.035
81.909
86.534
90.005
92.482
94.231
95.444
96.319
96.953
97.432
97.800
98.090
98.317
98.501
98.653
100.000

7.834
12.509
16.426
19.831
22.872
25.678
28.351
30.949
33.450
35.911
47.647
58.346
67.615
75.111
81.072
85.769
89.310
91.903
93.785
95.100
96.067
96.766
97.292
97.694
98.005
98.250
98.447
98.607
100.000

To make comparisons across years, it is useful to tabulate the number of workers by real wage levels. The
1994 wage levels were chosen as the standard, and
corresponding inflation-adjusted wage intervals were
computed for earlier years. Because no 100-percent
data are available by the resulting 1994-dollar wage
levels for 1985-93, data from the CWHS were used to
redistribute the number of workers from the 100-percent data. The results are shown in table 13.

14

Compared to table 12, table 13 exhibits much less variability across years for a given wage level. For example, the percentage of workers earning less than
$60,000 in 1994 dollars ranges from 95.1 percent to
95.5 percent over the 10-year period. In nominal dollars, the corresponding percentage ranges from 95.1
percent to 98.2 percent.

Table 13.—Cumulative frequency distribution of wage earners as a percent of their total number
by 1994-dollar wage level, 1985-94
1994-dollar
wage less
than or
equal to...

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

$999
1,999
2,999
3,999
4,999
5,999
6,999
7,999
8,999
9,999
14,999
19,999
24,999
29,999
34,999
39,999
44,999
49,999
54,999
59,999
64,999
69,999
74,999
79,999
84,999
89,999
94,999
99,999
Total

7.434
12.211
16.166
19.684
22.765
25.532
28.130
30.681
33.086
35.443
46.938
57.602
66.912
74.492
80.567
85.498
89.283
92.064
94.048
95.454
96.429
97.139
97.651
98.035
98.324
98.550
98.730
98.879
100.000

7.488
12.284
16.292
19.755
22.826
25.618
28.183
30.679
33.070
35.409
46.577
57.020
66.272
73.881
79.993
84.952
88.780
91.610
93.627
95.074
96.090
96.850
97.402
97.808
98.131
98.384
98.586
98.750
100.000

7.365
12.158
16.114
19.568
22.613
25.378
28.009
30.579
32.967
35.256
46.199
56.667
65.874
73.483
79.684
84.751
88.647
91.511
93.609
95.081
96.123
96.867
97.396
97.799
98.114
98.359
98.563
98.729
100.000

7.555
12.413
16.468
19.933
22.994
25.786
28.462
31.048
33.440
35.784
46.760
57.042
66.235
73.819
79.965
85.003
88.790
91.626
93.675
95.068
96.077
96.803
97.326
97.728
98.024
98.262
98.472
98.637
100.000

7.311
12.011
15.955
19.366
22.432
25.256
27.877
30.457
32.906
35.308
46.669
57.261
66.570
74.148
80.214
85.171
88.981
91.766
93.746
95.146
96.139
96.848
97.374
97.764
98.074
98.324
98.517
98.679
100.000

7.241
11.865
15.777
19.176
22.229
25.055
27.696
30.316
32.809
35.248
46.833
57.586
67.004
74.623
80.674
85.580
89.345
92.039
93.954
95.331
96.281
96.973
97.448
97.832
98.134
98.361
98.544
98.701
100.000

7.226
11.783
15.669
19.043
22.121
24.955
27.660
30.316
32.895
35.403
47.202
57.948
67.210
74.831
80.812
85.729
89.451
92.100
93.991
95.342
96.271
96.954
97.453
97.839
98.141
98.371
98.562
98.712
100.000

7.433
12.033
15.892
19.241
22.257
25.072
27.754
30.316
32.803
35.271
46.954
57.660
66.908
74.500
80.469
85.317
89.065
91.827
93.774
95.148
96.123
96.818
97.333
97.724
98.041
98.285
98.472
98.629
100.000

7.745
12.402
16.318
19.706
22.755
25.579
28.257
30.852
33.373
35.844
47.573
58.262
67.552
75.061
80.992
85.715
89.328
91.928
93.806
95.116
96.066
96.765
97.269
97.667
97.978
98.221
98.420
98.585
100.000

7.834
12.509
16.426
19.831
22.872
25.678
28.351
30.949
33.450
35.911
47.647
58.346
67.615
75.111
81.072
85.769
89.310
91.903
93.785
95.100
96.067
96.766
97.292
97.694
98.005
98.250
98.447
98.607
100.000

15