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The Most Common Jobs For The Rich, Middle Class And Poor

We've written a lot about how income has changed (or not) for the rich, middle class and poor in the U.S. We've written much less about what the rich, middle class and poor actually do for work.

To remedy that, we made this graph. It shows the 10 most popular jobs in each income bracket. Click on each job to see where it appears in different income brackets.

The jobs here look shockingly familiar. It's like a Richard Scarry model of the labor market, with people working jobs ripped right out of a storybook. This is the kind of work that needs to get done in every city in America. It shows that, at least nationally, the conventional idea of what people do for a living still holds.

Looking across incomes and rankings there are a couple of interesting things to note:

  • It's good to be the boss: Being a manager is the most common job from the 70th percentile up to the 99th.
  • Doctors and lawyers are only found in the top two brackets. (There's a reason our grandmothers wanted us to go to med school or law school.)
  • Sales supervisors are well-represented across all groups. It's a broad job title that applies to people making as little as $12,000 a year all the way up to six figures.
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The data come from the American Community Survey using individual income from wages and salaries. We restricted the sample to adults ages 25 to 65 and who worked at least three months in the past year.