To many people, $300k can seem like a lot of money – but how many people in the US are actually making this level of income? In this quick guide, I’ll break down some of the facts and figures you need to know.
How many people make over $300K in the US?
Currently, it’s estimated only 1.5% of individuals earn more than $300k a year in the US, which amounts to about 2.5 million people!
Therefore, if you make more than $300k in the US annually, you are in the top 1.5% of the US population earning money. Put another way, earning $300k puts you above the 98th percentile of income earners in the US.
How many households make over $300K?
Currently, only 4.3% of households in the US make over $300k per year.
There are a few other factors you need to consider too, so do keep reading further!
Is $300k a good salary in the US?
$300k is an excellent salary in the US. As an individual you’re in the top 1.5% of income earners. At $300k of household income, you’re in the top 4.3% of US households. You’re in rarified company!
Aside from where you fall relative to the broader population, let’s take a look at some factors that you should also take in to account when determining whether $300,000 is a good salary.
Your choice of profession or line of business will dictate the general range of earnings you will achieve. Therefore it’s important to consider the context in which profession these salaries are for.
A good salary for a doctor, would be different than a good salary for a pilot, and much different than a good salary for a truck driver!
More on this later in the article.
Location is an important factor for determining whether a particular salary level is good enough or not for two reasons – income taxes and cost of living. It’s common knowledge that salaries for the same roles in Alaska, would be different from that in Texas, or from that in Colorado.
For this reason, we’ve also built a personal income percentile calculator by state and also a household income percentile calculator by state. Both of these will help you get a deeper dive in to the income statistics for a region of your choice.
Income taxes vary by state. For this reason, income taxes – particularly the top marginal tax rates at these high salary levels – can strongly dictate how much money you have left over for personal use.
While business owners can minimize their tax bills, most W2 salaried professionals will unfortunately not have much of a choice. Marginal tax rates on bonuses, for example, could hit 40% at first!
Cost of Living
Once income taxes have been deducted from that $300k salary, how far will the balance go is of course a different discussion.
As we all know location is an important direct driver of expenses for the people living there. The primary driver would likely be the housing costs. It naturally also impacts other costs such as transportation and insurance, healthcare, groceries, etc.
For example, it is more expensive to live in New York or San Francisco, for example, than it is to live in Boise.
Location can therefore work two ways – it pushes up the overall salary expectations for the people living in higher cost of living locations, but it also drives down the money left over once these higher costs have been factored in!
So you could actually have a situation in which a person with a $300k salary in New York or San Francisco might actually have less in monthly net savings than someone with a substantially lower salary in Sherman, Texas!
The value of any given salary also depends on how many people depend on it and the lifestyle they expect.
For most households, $300k is very likely to provide a comfortable living. In fact with reasonable choices, these families will likely be able to achieve a very comfortable standard of living and still have plenty of money left over to save and invest.
The compounding of those savings over time, would place such a family well on their way to reach a multi-million dollar net worth lifestyle.
On the other hand, for someone with an extravagant lifestyle, even those $300k will unlikely be enough. Choices such as a large homes, fancy cars, and other heavy spending habits will definitely ensure that the money will be exhausted regularly.
What jobs pay more than $300k per year?
To earn more than $300k in the US, you’ll likely need to work in one of the following fields:
- Software architecture
- Semiconductor design
- Emergency medicine
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Plastic surgery
As you can see, working in medicine, surgery, and healthcare will likely bring you closer to the magic total.
However, research also suggests that simply working as a corporate CEO or CFO will provide you with $300k – on a single income.
You can browse for more data in our article covering median occupation by income in the US.
Before You Go…
$300k is a big target to shoot for and it’s not easy to get there! However $100k in salary per year is much more achievable.
We’ve covered the topic if you’re wondering whether $100k a year is a good salary in the US. Do check out the article before you go and I hope you find it useful!
What percentage of women earn more than $300K?
Out of the US’s 1.5% of people making over $300k per year, only 0.4% are women. Gender pay disparity continues to be a contentious issue across the US and the developed world.
What is the income of the top 1% of earners in the US?
The top 1% of earners in the US reportedly make more than $350,000 a year, based on statistics from 2021. Therefore, if you’re not yet a millionaire, don’t worry – few people are, believe it or not!