Economy / Median Wages


Median Wages

Hourly wages are an important measure of total income. It is an indicator of how easily workers could increase their wages, assuming that they can work additional hours at the same hourly pay rate. This indicator paints a fuller picture of wages beyond annual wage alone. Annual wages combine total hours worked and wages per hour, preventing us from understanding whether changes in total wages stem from changing hours or changing pay per hour. Hourly wages, meanwhile, remove hours from the equation and let us examine pay per hour in isolation.

Median hourly wages represent the hourly wage rate at which half of all workers make less than this amount and half make more. It is calculated by dividing annual wages by annual hours worked. This indicator focuses on workers most likely to depend on wages for their livelihood, so it excludes workers 65 and over, those currently attending school, and people living in households where the majority of the household’s income stems from non-wage sources such as investments.

The data dashboard below shows current and recent trend data for employment in Forsyth County.

Dashboard: Median Hourly Wages

Key Point: No Overall Change in Median Wages

  • In 2017, Forsyth County’s median wage was not significantly different than what it was in 2008.

Key Point: Forsyth County Wages Similar to Peers

  • Forsyth County’s median wage in 2017 was only different, and lower than, Durham County.

Key Point: Disparities Present in Wages for Residents by Age

  • There are significant differences in median wages between age groups. 
  • Median wages get higher as ages increase.

Key Point: Median Hourly Wages Similar for Males and Females

  • There is no significant difference in median wage comparing females and males.

Key Point: Disparities Present in Median Wages for Residents by Race/Ethnicity

  • Median wages for Hispanic/Latino residents is not significantly different than median wages for African American residents.
  • White, non-Hispanic residents have a higher median wage compared to that of African American residents and Hispanic/Latino residents.
Notes on Data

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

Literature References
Data Sources
  1. U.S. Department of Commerce. (2017). 2016 1-year public use microdata samples (PUMS) [Data Files]. Retrieved from:
  2. U.S. Department of Commerce. (2017). 1-year public use microdata samples (PUMS) [Data files from PUMS 1-year estimates for the years 2007-2016]. Retrieved from: