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What percent of men make 6 figures?

Making a 6 figure salary is often seen as a benchmark for financial success. With the cost of living rising and inflation putting pressure on household budgets, many wonder what percent of men actually earn over $100,000 per year. In this article, we’ll break down the data on the percentage of men making 6 figure incomes.

What Counts as a 6 Figure Salary?

When looking at statistics on high earners, it’s important to clarify what counts as a 6 figure income. For the purposes of this article, we are defining 6 figures as an annual personal income over $100,000.

Some key things to note:

  • We’re looking at individual earnings, not household income.
  • The income threshold is based on gross income, before taxes and other deductions.
  • Income includes money earned from jobs, businesses, investments, rents, and other sources.
  • The statistics cover annual earnings over a full calendar year.

Keeping these parameters in mind, we’ll look at the percentage of American men reaching this 6 figure earning milestone.

What Percent of All Men Make Over $100,000?

Looking at the adult male population as a whole, approximately 15% of men earn $100,000 or more per year. That equates to around 1 in 7 men that achieve 6 figure earning status. Here is a breakdown of the income distribution among US men:

  • Under $30,000 – 41%
  • $30,000 to $50,000 – 21%
  • $50,000 to $75,000 – 12%
  • $75,000 to $100,000 – 11%
  • Over $100,000 – 15%

Based on Census Bureau data, there are about 125 million adult men in the United States. Out of this group, around 19 million have individual incomes exceeding the $100,000 threshold.

Income Distribution by Age

The percentage of 6 figure earners varies significantly based on age. Incomes tend to rise as people gain more education and rise through the ranks in their careers. Here is the income breakdown for men by age group:

Men Age 20 to 29

  • Under $30,000 – 69%
  • $30,000 to $50,000 – 15%
  • $50,000 to $75,000 – 11%
  • $75,000 to $100,000 – 4%
  • Over $100,000 – 1%

Men Age 30 to 39

  • Under $30,000 – 33%
  • $30,000 to $50,000 – 18%
  • $50,000 to $75,000 – 16%
  • $75,000 to $100,000 – 11%
  • Over $100,000 – 22%

Men Age 40 to 49

  • Under $30,000 – 20%
  • $30,000 to $50,000 – 12%
  • $50,000 to $75,000 – 14%
  • $75,000 to $100,000 – 12%
  • Over $100,000 – 42%

Men Age 50 to 59

  • Under $30,000 – 15%
  • $30,000 to $50,000 – 10%
  • $50,000 to $75,000 – 15%
  • $75,000 to $100,000 – 13%
  • Over $100,000 – 47%

As shown, the percentage of 6 figure earners peaks between the ages of 40 and 59. By the 40 to 49 age range, over 40% of men have crossed the $100,000 annual income threshold.

Percentage by Education Level

Looking at education provides additional insight into the characteristics of 6 figure earners. In general, higher levels of education correlate with higher incomes. However, achieving a 6 figure income is possible without a 4-year college degree or advanced degree:

Men with a high school diploma

  • Over $100,000 – 9%

Men with some college or Associate’s degree

  • Over $100,000 – 13%

Men with a Bachelor’s degree

  • Over $100,000 – 23%

Men with a Master’s degree

  • Over $100,000 – 43%

Men with a Professional or Doctoral degree

  • Over $100,000 – 54%

While completing an undergraduate or graduate degree boosts earnings potential, one interesting finding is that nearly 1 in 10 men with just a high school diploma earns over $100,000.

Percent by Occupation

Looking at broad occupation categories also shows interesting variations in 6 figure earners:

Occupation Percent Making $100,000+
Management 38%
Business and Financial Operations 36%
Computer and Mathematical 43%
Architecture and Engineering 32%
Life, Physical, and Social Science 28%
Legal 48%
Healthcare Practitioner and Technical 31%
Sales and Related 16%

The highest percentages of 6 figure earners are found in management, computer, legal, and business occupations. However, even in lower paying occupational groups, a noteworthy percentage of men exceed $100,000 in earnings.

How Income Varies by Location

Not surprisingly, incomes tend to be higher in certain states and metro areas. Here is the percentage of male 6 figure earners by area:

State or Metro Percent Making $100,000+
California 18%
Massachusetts 22%
New York 22%
Washington DC Metro 24%
San Francisco Metro 27%
Boston Metro 21%

Areas with high concentrations of technology, finance, and other high-paying industries see larger portions of men with 6 figure earnings. However, even in expensive coastal areas, the majority of men still earn under $100,000.

Trends Over Time

Looking at how incomes have changed over the past decade provides useful context around 6 figure earners.

Here is the trend in the percentage of men earning $100,000 or more since 2010:

Year Percent Making $100,000+
2010 14%
2015 15%
2020 17%

Over the past 10 years, the percentage of male 6 figure earners has gradually increased. However, the overwhelming majority still fall under the $100,000 income level.

Key Factors for High Earners

While earning a 6 figure income is attainable for some men in nearly every demographic group, the data points to a few key factors that improve the odds:

  • Reaching at least middle age. Incomes peak between ages 40 and 60.
  • Obtaining higher education credentials such as a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.
  • Developing skills and experience in high-paying fields like technology, finance, law, engineering and healthcare.
  • Working and living in metro areas with strong job markets and higher average pay.

Very few men directly out of college or in entry-level roles earn over $100,000. But building specialized skills and job experience over time can open the door to crossing this income threshold.

The Big Picture on 6 Figure Earners

While pop culture often depicts 6 figure incomes as common, the actual percentage of American men earning over $100,000 is quite small. Among all working-age men, around 15% make the 6 figure cut. And this percentage only exceeds 20% in certain high-paying fields and locations.

However, the ability to reach this income milestone is slowly becoming attainable for a wider segment of men, especially those with college degrees working in skilled roles. Withpersistence, continued education, and by targeting cities and careers with high earnings potential, joining the 6 figure earning bracket is a reasonable goal for many.


Despite perceptions, a relatively small percentage of men actually achieve 6 figure earning status each year. Approximately 15% of the male population earn over $100,000 individually. While incomes are rising gradually over time, most working men still fall under this high income threshold.

Education, occupation, experience, and geography all play key roles in determining who joins the 6 figure earning bracket. Men who invest time developing sought-after skills and work in fields like technology, business, law, healthcare, and engineering have the best chances of crossing the $100,000 annual income mark. Though certainly not guaranteed, this income milestone is at least within reach for men from diverse backgrounds willing to strategically steer their careers.