Distribution of Household Income
As of 2021, 44.5% of the total aggregate income in the City of Austin went to those in the middle-income segment of the population. We examine the total aggregate income shares organized by 5 equal segments of total households, or quintiles. This indicator can provide insights into growth/decline of middle class and how income is distributed across economic class segments. This measurement shows that less than half of total income goes to the middle class.
There has been no significant changes in the total percentage of income going to middle income segment households in Austin since the reporting in 2017. Data has maintained a spread of distribution in the mid-40% range.
Note: to see the underlying data for this chart, please select the "View Source Data" link to the left. Data was NOT available in 2020.
Additional Measure Insights
For the purposes of our reporting, we examine the total aggregate income shares organized by quintiles (5 equal segments). Ongoing reporting on the share of household distribution will provide a more consistent measure of income distribution than just looking at total population that fall into certain income brackets.
A quintile is an equal segment that comprises 20% percent of all Austin households. We are reporting on the total share that is earned by the 3 middle segments, or the 20%-80% quintiles. The quintiles can be considered a relative, context-based comparison of the economic status and income distribution in the city. The share of aggregate income going to the middle segments remained the same since the first recorded year of 2010.
In 2019, the upper quintile, or upper-class, comprised 52.19 % of the total income share and the lowest segment quintile comprised just 3.13%. The upper class has consistently attained more than half of the total shares of income since our first reported year in 2010. This measure of economic disparity across classes aligns with wider national trends that show that the total growth in income across communities is skewed toward upper-income households with a corresponding decline in middle-income share (Pew Research Center).
The Pew Research Center defines middle class by taking the calculation of two-thirds to double the U.S. median household income. We adapted this formula to utilize the best available information provided by the Census American Community Survey 2019, using the income brackets spanning $50,000 to $149,000. Using this methodology and data, we found that 46.4% of Austin households were in the middle-class.
A recent housing market study found that between the reporting years 1999 and 2012 income trends showed a reduction in middle-class, but since 2012 and until the reporting year of 2017, the middle class segment is gradually expanding.
The following chart shows the trends of Austin median household income (MHI) over time and among various race groups.
- Although the city has experienced historic economic growth, that prosperity has not been shown to significantly impact the growth of most race groups for people of color. Racial disparities are evident in the data as it is shown that white households consistently report significantly higher median family incomes than Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino groups.
- In 2019, the median Black household earned just 54 cents for every dollar of income the median White household earned (up from 52 cents in 2018), while the median Hispanic household earned just 60 cents (down from 61 cents in 2018).
Measure Details and Definition
1) Definition: This measure is the percentage of the population who are in the middle-income classes. The share of aggregate income is presented in quintiles, and the middle 3 quintiles are aggregated to show the "middle" share.
2) Calculation method: We are reporting on the calculation of total share that is derived by the total of the 3 middle segments, or the 20%-80% quintiles
3) Data Collection Process: Data collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, American Communities Survey (5yr) Table B19082. American Communities Survey (ACS) is a survey with sampled statistics on the citywide level and is subject to a margin of error. ACS sample size and data quality measures can be found on the U.S. Census website in the Methodology section. Data was not available in 2020.
4) Measure Target Calculation: There is no target for this measure, but the City of Austin is monitoring this as a community measure.
5) Frequency Measure is Reported: Annually (Calendar Year)
Date page was last updated: October 2022