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Personal Income
Personal Income
Simply having a job is a start, but if your wages don't keep pace with inflation, you "feel" that, too.

This generation is not making as much money as its fathers did, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts' Economic Mobility Project. Pew compared the income of men in their 30s to that of men in the same age group 30 years earlier. The organization figures this is a solid measure because the percentage of men in the work force has remained relatively steady over the last generation - unlike women, whose working numbers and wages have increased.

Pew found that, adjusted for inflation, salaries for men in their 30s went up five percent from 1964 to 1994. But looking at the period 1974 to 2004, salaries actually went down 12 percent, from $40,210 to $35,010 (in inflation-adjusted dollars).

In fact, income was actually on a bit of a downswing at the start of the 1980s but, again adjusted for inflation, was still higher than at any other point in recent history. In 1980, the average income for a man in his 30s was $39,109; today, Pew estimates it is $34,676.

If it's any consolation, the most recent numbers are not the low point in our survey; in 1993, the average man in his 30s was making $32,599 per year.

If an average income of $32,599 is set equal to zero, and $39,109 is set equal to ten, income today is at a relatively low point in the spectrum.

Personal Income: 3.2

NEXT: Personal Savings

Last updated October 23 2009: 4:39 PM ET
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