Can I Make it to the Top 20% Incomes? Does a Prestigious College Make Me Happier?

Curated by CLAI

Most Americans Make It To The Top 20 Percent (At Least For A While): Raises, promotions, new careers, and a spouse entering or leaving the workforce can all create large swings in household income.

  • 61 out of 100 U.S. households will break into the top 20% of incomes (roughly $111,000*) for at least 2 consecutive years.
  • 39 out of 100 U.S. households will break into the top 10% of incomes (roughly $153,000*) for at least 2 consecutive years.
  • 5 out of 100 U.S. households will break into the top 1% of incomes (roughly $360,000*) for at least 2 consecutive years.
  • 20 out of 100 U.S. households will fall into poverty (roughly $23,850 for a family of 4*) for at least 2 consecutive years.
Americans in Top 20% of Income

61 out of 100 U.S. households will break into the top 20% of incomes (roughly $111,000*) for at least 2 consecutive years. (NPR)

Prestigious Colleges Won’t Make You Happier In Life Or Work: The factors that should be guiding decisions on selecting a college are not selectivity or prestige, but cost of attendance, great teaching and deep learning — in that order.

  • There is no link between expensive private colleges and later salary for graduates. Income is much more closely tied to a person’s choice of a major.
  • If you can go to Podunk U debt free vs. Harvard for $100,000, go to Podunk. And concentrate on what you do when you get there.
  • 39% of college grads overall say they’re “engaged” at work (which is 10% higher than the population at large)

 

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