Economy / Income by Quintile


Income by Quintile


Quintiles help illuminate income inequality among earners. Income quintiles are defined in percentiles and read using upper-limit thresholds. For example, in 2017 the 20th percentile quintile has an upper limit of just over $20,000, meaning twenty percent of the population earned income less than just over $20,000. Due to the general nature of quintiles, income thresholds change from year to year.

Changes in community incomes do not always happen uniformly for high-and low-income earners. For example, incomes could rise for households at one end of the distribution and stay the same or drop for households at the other end of the distribution.

Upper Limits of Income Percentiles

PercentileMeaning2017 Income Level
20th20% of households have income at or below this level$20,373
40th40% of households have income at or below this level$38,981
60th60% of households have income at or below this level$63,466
80th80% of households have income at or below this level$103,501
95th95% of households have income at or below this level$201,795

The data dashboard below shows current and recent trend data for quintile thresholds for income in Forsyth County.

Dashboard: Income Quintiles

Key Point: Household Incomes Either Remain Steady or Decrease

  • Household incomes in Forsyth County have remained steady or decreased since 2006.
    • Specifically, household incomes at the 40th percentile and below are lower than they were in 2006: estimated maximum earnings at the 40th percentile were $44,071 in 2006 and were $38,981 in 2017

Key Point: Disparities Present in Income Percentiles by Race/Ethnicity

This section shows the percentage of each demographic group that lies within a given income quintile. All values would be 20% if there was parity among race/ethnicities. As an example, the value for Forsyth County African Americans in the 20th percentile and under category is 31%. This means that 31% of all African Americans have incomes at the 20th percentile of the income distribution or lower.

  • At the lower end of the income distribution, African Americans are overrepresented and White, non-Hispanics are underrepresented. 

  • Conversely, at the higher end of the income distribution White, non-Hispanics are overrepresented and African Americans are underrepresented.

  • Considering any income percentage group, African American and Hispanic/Latino residents are similar.
Notes on Data

If you are interested in using data from this report for more rigorous purposes, please contact for a consultation on how best to proceed.

Data Sources

U.S. Department of Commerce. (2018). Household Income Quintile Upper Limits: Table B19080 [ Data files from ACS 1-year estimates for the year 2017]. Retrieved from

ACS public use microdata sample (PUMS). Washington, D.C.: US Census Bureau