Visualizing Income Distribution in the United States


Real (2018$) annual household income (HHINCOME from IPUMS CPS ASEC) in each state and DC from 1976 to 2018 is displayed on a 3D chart to show how income is distributed across the United States and within states.

Things you can do

  1. Real household income in 2018$ (RHH)
  2. Real household income per (equivalized) person (ERHH, square root equivalence scale, see Johnson et al., 2005, p. 13)
  3. Real household income adjusted for state prices (RHHRPP, see BEA's regional price parities; 2008-2018 only)
  4. Real household income per (equivalized) person adjusted for state prices (ERHHRPP; 2008-2018 only)

The rendering (by amCharts) is interactive. Hover your mouse over different parts of the chart to get a popup with information.

Rendering may take a few seconds (depending on your device and connection).

Go to work

To begin with 1976 data, click:


Return to this page and click Start again to create a new tab where you can choose a different year. You can do this as many times as you wish. Now you can easily compare across years by moving among tabs.

The color scheme is always based on real household income (RHH) in 1976.


You can also look at a single state over time:
Individual state


We made these short videos to show the effect of sampling variability and demonstrate how household income has changed over time.

Visit to see these animations with playback controls.

Documentation and Help

For more detail and explanation, please see:

Barreto, H. and Truong, S. (2020), "Visualizing Income Inequality in the United States", Working Papers 2020-3, DePauw University, Department of Economics and Management.

Truong, S. and Barreto, H., "Technical Appendix for Visualizing Income Inequality in the United States", is available from, which has a licensed Python package for this project. It includes advanced features such as controlling the color scheme and animation.

Details on bootstrapped SEs are in this Excel workbook, 1976RHHINCOME.xlsm and our Technical Appendix.

California and DC median income rankings are in this Excel workbook, ranking.xlsx, and our Technical Appendix.

For questions, corrections, or suggestions, please email me at


Big thanks to Jonah Barreto for writing the JavaScript code for this website!
Last updated: 29 Aug 2020