Fields of Study and the Jobs of Young People with Higher Incomes

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Income tends to increase with age, because more work experience and education tends to lead to higher paying jobs. However, young people can also earn higher incomes. Using data from the most recent 2022 American Community Survey, let’s see what those people studied and what they do for a living.

Out of the employed, the percentage of people who make at least six-figures approaches 25%. There is some fluctuation in the later years as people retire and older people who earn high incomes stay in the work force.


 

While the percentages are smaller for those under 30, there were still an estimated 2.4 million who earned at least $100,000 of income. What did they study? What kind of jobs do they have?

A quarter of employees under 30 who made at least six-figures did not have a bachelor’s degree.

 

Here’s what they do for a living, with and without a bachelor’s degree.

 

For those without a bachelor’s degree, it’s about learning a trade or earning a management position. For those with a bachelor’s, the leading jobs are in software and engineering like you might expect, but there are also health-related jobs and still many others that fit in the “other” category.

So while a college education opens opportunities and improves your chances at earning a higher income, it’s also not impossible if you go a different direction.

Notes

Calculations are based on estimates from the 2022 single-year American Community Survey, downloaded via IPUMS. The charts were made in R and edited in Adobe Illustrator.

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My work on FlowingData is supported by paid memberships. Since 2007, I have been analyzing data and making charts to help people understand and appreciate data in their work and everyday lives. I hope to keep it going for many more years.

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Chart Types Used

TreemapVariable Width Bar Chart

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