Distribution of Federal Taxes

CBO regularly analyzes the distribution of household income and federal taxes. For households at different points in the income distribution and in various demographic groups, the agency estimates average incomes, average federal taxes paid, average federal tax rates (federal taxes divided by income), and other measures.

  • Report

    In 2014, average household income before accounting for means-tested transfers and federal taxes was $19,000 for the lowest quintile and $281,000 for the highest quintile. After transfers and taxes, those averages were $31,000 and $207,000.

  • Report

    In 2013, households in the top, middle, and bottom income quintiles received 53, 14, and 5 percent, respectively, of the nation's before-tax income and paid 69, 9, and 1 percent, respectively, of federal taxes.

  • Report

    In 2011, households in the top, middle, and bottom quintiles received 52, 14, and 5 percent of the nation's before-tax income, respectively; the shares of federal taxes paid by those households were 69, 9, and 1 percent.

  • The Distribution of Federal Spending and Taxes in 2006
    Report

    CBO analyzes the distribution of most federal spending—including transfers such as Social Security benefits—and almost all federal revenues among U.S. households in 2006. Results are provided by type of household and by income group.

  • Report

    In 2013, the benefits of 10 of the largest tax expenditures will equal 11.7 percent of income for households in the lowest income quintile, 9.4 percent for the highest quintile, and under 8 percent for the middle quintiles, CBO estimates.

  • Report

    CBO finds that, between 1979 and 2007, income grew by: 275 percent for the top 1 percent of households; 65 percent for the next 19 percent; just under 40 percent for the next 60 percent; and 18 percent for the bottom 20 percent.