Six Figure Salary: How Many People Earn 6 Figures? Is It a Lot?

A six-figure salary is necessary to live comfortably as a single person in some parts of the country. However, relatively few people in the United States earn more than $100,000 annually. 

In America, just over eight percent of workers earn more than $100k annually. In the past, earning six figures was a goal for many people. Today, earning $100,000 per year may not be enough to afford a luxurious lifestyle. 

Keep reading to learn about six-figure salaries, what jobs earn this pay, and how far $100,000 per year will get you. 

six-figure salary

How Many People Earn a Six-Figure Salary? 

Recently, an Ivy League professor at the University of Pennsylvania asked her students how much they thought the median salary was in the U.S., and 25 percent told her it was more than $100k. 

median wages

In reality, 34.4 percent of households earned more than $100,000 in 2022. However, some households have more than one earner. The number of people earning $100,000 on their own is much lower. Estimates are around 5 to 10 percent depending on your demographic and location.

What is the Median Income in America?

Married men with children earn the highest wages at around $50,000, depending on where they live. Women earn substantially less than men, especially if they are unmarried. However, they also tend to work fewer hours. 

salaries in the U.S.

The average annual salary is $31,133, and currently, the median household income is $70,784. That means the average household earns nearly $30,000 less than six figures.  

Is a Six-Figure Salary a Lot?

A six-figure salary may provide a stable life for a single person, especially if you have a job that includes housing. However, it is much harder for a family of two adults with children to live comfortably on $100k. A home with two adults typically has to pay more than one car payment, a mortgage, groceries, utilities, and other monthly expenses. 

cost of living for families

Due to inflation, new and used car prices, rent and mortgage costs, groceries, and electricity have risen substantially in the past two years. 

Take a look at these average expenses for necessities to get a better idea of how far six figures goes in a household with a family. 

  • Rent for Single-Family Home – $1,900
  • 30-Year Mortgage – $1,275
  • 15-Year Mortgage – $1,659
  • Electricity – $213
  • Water – $45.44
  • Car Payment – $700
  • Health Insurance – $1,437
  • Groceries – $900 
  • Car Insurance – $1,771
  • Cell Phone Family Plan – $175
  • Internet and Cable TV – $217
  • Childcare – $847

As you can see, $8,333 per month does not get you as far as many people think if you have dependents. However, you can make your money go further by using the 10/20 rule to manage your finances and keep your debt low. 

What Professions Earn Six Figures? 

If you want to make a six-figure income, you need to be in a profession with that earning potential. The professions that typically make $100k include:

  • Doctors
  • Lawyers
  • Traveling Nurses
  • Respiratory Therapists
  • Executives
  • Upper Management
  • Pilots
  • Real Estate Agents and Brokers
  • Engineers
  • Oil Field Workers
  • Bank Executives
  • Property Investors

six figure earners

Final Advice on Making Six-Figures

Six figures is not a lot of money for a family. However, if you are a single person with few obligations and sound money management skills, $100k can go much further. However, even with a substantial income, most people still have to be careful about how much they spend, especially with the cost of living rising. 

To learn about other career and personal finance topics, like how many mutual funds you should own and how to live without a job, check out our other guides.