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 2017, average household income before accounting for means-tested transfers and federal taxes was $21,300 for the lowest quintile and $309,400 for the highest quintile. After transfers and taxes, those averages were $35,900 and $229,700.

  • Report

    This report projects the distributions of household income, means-tested transfers, and federal taxes under current law in 2021 and compares them with the actual distributions in 2016.

  • Report

    In 2016, average household income before accounting for means-tested transfers and federal taxes was $21,000 for the lowest quintile and $291,000 for the highest quintile. After transfers and taxes, those averages were $35,000 and $214,000.

  • 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.