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Median Incomes v. Average College Tuition Rates, 1971-2015


median incomes v. average college tuition 1971 to 2012

In 1971 the tuition for a public 4-year college was $428 ($2,499 adjusted for inflation) per year. By 2015 tuition had risen to $9,420 per year, a 3,698% (276% for inflation-adjusted numbers) increase. Meanwhile, the median income in 1971 for men was $6,903 ($36,036 adjusted for inflation) and for women was $2,408 ($12,571 adjusted for inflation), making tuition 7% of men’s median income and 20% of women’s median income per year. In 2015, the median income for men was $37,138 and $23,769 for women, making tuition 25% of men’s median income and 39% of women’s median income per year. In 1994, tuition at 4-year private nonprofit colleges ($11,719 not adjusted for inflation) surpassed the median yearly income for women ($11,466 not adjusted for inflation). In 2015, the average tuition at a 4-year public college ($9,420) was $22,910 less than that of a private nonprofit 4-year college ($32,330).
Median Incomes v. Average College Tuition Rates,
Not Adjusted for Inflation, 1971-2015
median incomes v. average college tuition rates not adjusted for inflation, 1971-2012


Median Incomes v. Average College Tuition Rates,
Adjusted for Inflation, 1971-2012
median incomes v. average college tuition rates adjusted for inflation, 1971-2012


Median Incomes v. Average College Tuition Rates,
1971-2015
Not Adjusted for Inflation Adjusted for Inflation
Median Annual Income Average Annual Tuition Median Annual Income (2015 dollars) Average Annual Tuition (2016 dollars)
Year Men Women 4 Year Private
Nonprofit Colleges
& Universities
4 Year Public
Colleges &
Universities
Men Women 4 Year Private
Nonprofit Colleges
& Universities
4 Year Public
Colleges &
Universities
1971 $6,903 $2,408 $1,832 $428 $36,036 $12,571 $10,832 $2,531

1972

$7,450 $2,599 $1,948 $503 $37,760 $13,173 $11,188 $2,889
1973 $8,056 $2,796 $2,045 $514 $38,426 $13,337 $11,109 $2,792
1974 $8,452 $3,082 $2,130 $512 $36,650 $13,364 $10,376 $2,494
1975 $8,853 $3,385 $2,291 $542 $35,473 $13,563 $10,172 $2,406
1976 $9,426 $3,576 $2,534 $617 $35,714 $13,549 $10,680 $2,600
1977 $10,123 $3,941 $2,700 $655 $36,078 $14,046 $10,652 $2,584
1978 $10,935 $4,068 $2,958 $688 $36,471 $13,568 $10,835 $2,520
1979 $11,779 $4,352 $3,225 $738 $35,883 $13,258 $10,617 $2,430
1980 $12,530 $4,920 $3,617 $804 $34,327 $13,479 $10,525 $2,340
1981 $13,473 $5,458 $4,113 $909 $33,702 $13,653 $10,805 $2,388
1982 $13,950 $5,887 $4,639 $1,031 $32,909 $13,888 $11,450 $2,545
1983 $14,631 $6,319 $5,093 $1,148 $33,124 $14,306 $12,268 $2,765
1984 $15,600 $6,868 $5,556 $1,228 $33,907 $14,928 $12,844 $2,839
1985 $16,311 $7,217 $6,121 $1,318 $34,276 $15,166 $13,664 $2,942
1986 $17,114 $7,610 $6,658 $1,414 $35,324 $15,707 $14,632 $3,108
1987 $17,786 $8,295 $7,048 $1,485 $35,511 $16,561 $14,904 $3,140
1988 $18,908 $8,884 $8,004 $1,578 $36,415 $17,110 $16,254 $3,205
1989 $19,983 $9,624 $8,663 $1,696 $36,727 $17,768 $16,758 $3,281
1990 $20,293 $10,070 $9,340 $1,908 $35,705 $17,718 $17,237 $3,521
1991 $20,469 $10,476 $9,812 $2,107 $34,750 $17,785 $17,336 $3,723
1992 $20,455 $10,714 $10,448 $2,334 $33,868 $17,739 $17,895 $3,998
1993 $21,102 $11,046 $11,007 $2,535 $34,096 $17,848 $18,344 $4,225
1994 $21,720 $11,466 $11,719 $2,705 $34,337 $18,148 $19,004 $4,386
1995 $22,562 $12,130 $12,216 $2,811 $34,869 $18,747 $19,277 $4,436
1996 $23,834 $12,815 $12,994 $2,975 $35,864 $19,283 $19,917 $4,560
1997 $25,212 $13,703 $13,785 $3,111 $37,135 $20,184 $20,669 $4,665
1998 $26,492 $14,430 $14,709 $3,247 $38,500 $20,970 $21,689 $4,788
1999 $27,293 $15,304 $15,518 $3,362 $38,837 $21,777 $22,402 $4,853
2000 $28,343 $16,079 $16,072 $3,508 $39,008 $22,129 $22,382 $4,885
2001 $29,101 $16,614 $17,377 $3,766 $38,958 $22,241 $23,559 $5,106
2002 $29,238 $16,812 $18,060 $4,098 $38,519 $22,149 $24,132 $5,476
2003 $29,931 $17,259 $18,950 $4,645 $38,571 $22,241 $24,798 $6,078
2004 $30,516 $17,667 $20,045 $5,126 $38,291 $22,168 $25,469 $6,513
2005 $31,516 $18,576 $20,980 $5,492 $37,957 $22,545 $25,838 $6,764
2006 $32,265 $20,014 $22,308 $5,804 $37,929 $23,528 $26,380 $6,860
2007 $33,196 $20,922 $23,420 $6,191 $37,948 $23,917 $27,060 $7,150
2008 $33,161 $20,867 $20,818 $6,599 $36,505 $22,972 $27,150 $7,220
2009 $32,184 $20,957 $25,739 $7,073 $35,554 $23,151 $28,760 $7,900
2010 $32,205 $20,775 $26,766 $7,629 $35,010 $22,585 $29,550 $8,420
2011 $32,986 $21,102 $27,883 $8,276 $34,763 $22,239 $29,700 $8,820
2012 $33,904 $21,520 $28,989 $8,646 $35,000 $22,215 $30,450 $9,080
2013 $35,228 $22,063 $30,131 $8,885 $35,846 $22,450 $31,040 $9,150
2014 $36,302 $22,240 $31,283 $9,145 $36,344 $22,266 $31,598 $9,240
2015 $37,138 $23,769 $33,479 $9,420 $37,138 $23,769 $32,604 $9,500
Year Men Women 4 Year Private
Nonprofit Colleges
& Universities
4 Year Public
Colleges &
Universities
Men Women 4 Year Private
Nonprofit Colleges
& Universities
4 Year Public
Colleges &
Universities
Median Annual Income Average Annual Tuition Median Annual Income (2015 dollars) Average Annual Tuition (2016 dollars)
Not Adjusted for Inflation Adjusted for Inflation

Sources:

College Board, "Tuition and Fee and Room and Board Charges over Time," www.collegeboard.org (accessed Feb. 4, 2014)
US Census Bureau, "Regions of People by Median Income and Sex: 1953 to 2012," www.census.gov (accessed Feb. 4, 2014)