The 2006 Earnings Public-Use Microdata File: An Introduction

by Michael Compson
Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71 No. 4, 2011
Table equivalent for Chart 1. Types of earnings data available from Social Security administrative files, 1937–2006
Time period Type of earnings data available
1937–1950 Aggregate covered earnings
1951–1977 Data reported quarterly by employer
1978–2006
  • Wage and salary and tip income (covered and noncovered) reported annually by employer on Form W-2
  • Social Security–covered self-employment income a reported annually on Form 1040 SE
1990–2006 Aggregate deferred compensation
1991–2006 Taxable Medicare earnings above the Social Security taxable maximum b
2004–2006 Detailed deferred compensation
SOURCE: SSA.
a. From 1978 to 1990, data for only that portion of self-employment income that it is taxable for Social Security purposes are available. In general, during this period there is no way to distinguish between amounts of covered earnings from wages and salary, self-employment income, and earnings from agriculture. Beginning in 1991, the taxable maximum earnings amounts for Social Security and Medicare differed. Beginning in 1994, the cap on taxable Medicare covered earnings was eliminated, and data on total earnings amounts from each source became available.
b. Beginning in 1991 the Medicare taxable maximum earnings amount exceeded the Social Security taxable maximum, until the Medicare taxable maximum was eliminated altogether in 1994.
Table equivalent for Chart 2. Social Security earnings (weighted) as a percentage of all earnings
Year Social Security covered earnings Social Security taxable earnings Capped Social Security taxable earnings in EPUF
1951 69.51 56.38 54.62
1952 69.89 56.22 54.63
1953 71.75 56.35 54.33
1954 71.74 55.73 53.84
1955 76.45 61.42 59.65
1956 78.87 62.10 60.02
1957 81.27 63.02 61.15
1958 81.13 62.00 60.03
1959 82.23 65.24 63.21
1960 81.95 63.97 62.11
1961 81.12 62.82 60.83
1962 81.48 61.76 59.77
1963 81.39 60.73 58.70
1964 81.70 59.51 57.40
1965 82.23 58.62 56.11
1966 83.39 66.71 64.89
1967 84.66 66.15 63.75
1968 84.22 68.81 67.01
1969 84.39 67.56 65.46
1970 84.37 65.96 63.96
1971 83.70 63.85 61.76
1972 84.09 65.88 63.96
1973 83.50 68.32 66.51
1974 84.25 71.84 70.41
1975 84.30 71.14 69.89
1976 84.77 71.50 70.17
1977 84.21 71.62 70.17
1978 84.84 71.10 69.65
1979 85.19 74.38 73.40
1980 85.90 76.32 74.66
1981 85.71 76.44 75.43
1982 86.06 77.47 76.09
1983 86.43 77.81 76.42
1984 86.67 77.43 75.51
1985 86.89 77.28 77.26
1986 88.03 77.99 77.97
1987 87.71 76.85 76.85
1988 87.68 75.27 75.25
1989 87.87 76.31 76.29
1990 87.05 75.91 75.91
1991 86.76 76.14 76.12
1992 86.11 74.75 74.73
1993 85.73 74.76 74.75
1994 86.04 74.95 74.95
1995 86.47 74.20 74.20
1996 85.42 73.18 73.17
1997 85.66 72.92 72.92
1998 85.70 72.39 72.37
1999 85.79 72.01 72.00
2000 85.38 71.01 71.00
2001 84.49 71.58 71.56
2002 83.88 72.19 72.19
2003 83.50 71.74 71.74
2004 83.14 70.51 70.49
2005 83.65 70.44 70.38
2006 83.71 70.00 70.08
SOURCES: Bureau of Economic Analysis National Income and Product Account; SSA (2009a); 2006 EPUF.
Table equivalent for Chart 3. Number of individuals in EPUF, by year of birth
Year of birth Number (in thousands)
1870 1.81
1871 2.02
1872 2.91
1873 3.07
1874 3.80
1875 4.43
1876 5.15
1877 5.40
1878 6.09
1879 6.69
1880 7.98
1881 8.12
1882 9.41
1883 9.58
1884 11.28
1885 11.48
1886 12.17
1887 12.09
1888 14.58
1889 14.28
1890 14.90
1891 14.91
1892 16.89
1893 16.85
1894 17.47
1895 17.76
1896 18.32
1897 17.95
1898 19.24
1899 18.10
1900 21.26
1901 19.04
1902 21.04
1903 20.82
1904 21.73
1905 22.72
1906 22.88
1907 23.82
1908 24.66
1909 24.63
1910 25.67
1911 25.57
1912 26.90
1913 26.94
1914 28.23
1915 27.87
1916 27.95
1917 27.89
1918 29.69
1919 29.09
1920 31.37
1921 31.88
1922 31.10
1923 30.80
1924 31.58
1925 30.60
1926 30.24
1927 30.31
1928 29.77
1929 28.74
1930 29.29
1931 27.62
1932 28.09
1933 26.57
1934 27.49
1935 27.83
1936 27.59
1937 28.60
1938 29.36
1939 29.08
1940 30.51
1941 31.77
1942 34.95
1943 36.29
1944 34.97
1945 34.76
1946 40.96
1947 45.44
1948 44.12
1949 44.74
1950 44.61
1951 46.41
1952 47.56
1953 48.33
1954 50.15
1955 51.31
1956 51.62
1957 53.20
1958 52.99
1959 52.81
1960 53.23
1961 52.82
1962 52.83
1963 52.14
1964 51.36
1965 48.96
1966 46.94
1967 46.01
1968 46.17
1969 47.14
1970 48.49
1971 46.51
1972 43.63
1973 42.08
1974 41.98
1975 41.79
1976 41.82
1977 42.70
1978 42.50
1979 43.70
1980 44.64
1981 44.28
1982 44.48
1983 43.64
1984 43.44
1985 43.77
1986 43.33
1987 42.94
1988 43.78
1989 44.93
1990 45.79
1991 45.00
1992 44.42
1993 43.47
1994 42.48
1995 41.91
1996 41.29
1997 41.25
1998 41.63
1999 41.68
2000 42.53
2001 41.99
2002 41.77
2003 42.26
2004 42.51
2005 42.50
2006 41.24
SOURCE: Author's calculations based on the 2006 EPUF.
Table equivalent for Chart 4. Number of individuals in EPUF, by year of birth and sex
Year of birth Number (in thousands)
Men Women
1870 1.48 0.33
1871 1.61 0.40
1872 2.29 0.61
1873 2.41 0.65
1874 2.89 0.90
1875 3.29 1.14
1876 3.79 1.35
1877 3.90 1.49
1878 4.29 1.79
1879 4.52 2.15
1880 5.35 2.61
1881 5.38 2.71
1882 6.20 3.17
1883 6.19 3.35
1884 7.15 4.09
1885 7.08 4.37
1886 7.56 4.58
1887 7.25 4.80
1888 8.70 5.83
1889 8.43 5.81
1890 8.66 6.20
1891 8.45 6.40
1892 9.63 7.20
1893 9.47 7.34
1894 9.62 7.80
1895 9.77 7.95
1896 9.99 8.28
1897 9.71 8.20
1898 10.17 9.02
1899 9.57 8.50
1900 11.24 9.98
1901 10.01 9.00
1902 11.12 9.87
1903 10.92 9.86
1904 11.19 10.51
1905 11.69 10.98
1906 11.72 11.11
1907 12.32 11.46
1908 12.62 12.00
1909 12.78 11.81
1910 13.22 12.39
1911 13.18 12.33
1912 13.88 12.94
1913 13.74 13.14
1914 14.41 13.75
1915 14.30 13.51
1916 14.41 13.47
1917 14.27 13.58
1918 15.16 14.46
1919 14.98 14.05
1920 15.92 15.39
1921 16.24 15.57
1922 15.62 15.41
1923 15.63 15.13
1924 15.82 15.73
1925 15.22 15.34
1926 15.36 14.86
1927 15.38 14.91
1928 15.08 14.67
1929 14.50 14.23
1930 14.91 14.36
1931 14.00 13.60
1932 14.33 13.74
1933 13.44 13.11
1934 13.98 13.49
1935 13.98 13.82
1936 13.96 13.62
1937 14.42 14.17
1938 14.75 14.60
1939 14.82 14.24
1940 15.54 14.95
1941 16.15 15.60
1942 17.89 17.05
1943 18.56 17.71
1944 17.80 17.17
1945 17.87 16.87
1946 21.03 19.93
1947 23.44 21.98
1948 22.71 21.40
1949 23.00 21.73
1950 22.97 21.63
1951 23.92 22.46
1952 24.48 23.05
1953 24.80 23.51
1954 25.81 24.32
1955 26.43 24.87
1956 26.80 24.80
1957 27.59 25.59
1958 27.43 25.55
1959 27.24 25.57
1960 27.50 25.72
1961 27.32 25.50
1962 27.24 25.59
1963 26.93 25.19
1964 26.59 24.77
1965 25.22 23.72
1966 24.18 22.75
1967 23.76 22.25
1968 23.93 22.23
1969 24.16 22.98
1970 24.98 23.50
1971 23.99 22.52
1972 22.60 21.02
1973 21.49 20.59
1974 21.39 20.58
1975 21.33 20.45
1976 21.43 20.39
1977 21.90 20.80
1978 21.80 20.70
1979 22.27 21.42
1980 22.60 22.03
1981 22.67 21.60
1982 22.64 21.84
1983 22.48 21.16
1984 22.03 21.41
1985 22.20 21.56
1986 22.08 21.25
1987 21.92 21.02
1988 22.31 21.46
1989 23.03 21.90
1990 23.41 22.38
1991 22.98 22.03
1992 22.91 21.51
1993 22.32 21.16
1994 21.76 20.72
1995 21.44 20.47
1996 21.23 20.07
1997 20.99 20.26
1998 21.27 20.37
1999 21.42 20.26
2000 21.60 20.93
2001 21.45 20.55
2002 21.32 20.45
2003 21.58 20.68
2004 21.68 20.83
2005 21.77 20.73
2006 21.07 20.18
SOURCE: Author's calculations based on the 2006 EPUF.
Table equivalent for Chart 6. Cumulative distribution of individuals in EPUF with no capped Social Security taxable earnings, by year of birth
Year of birth Cumulative percentage
1870 0.07
1871 0.13
1872 0.22
1873 0.31
1874 0.41
1875 0.54
1876 0.69
1877 0.83
1878 1.00
1879 1.19
1880 1.41
1881 1.62
1882 1.86
1883 2.10
1884 2.38
1885 2.67
1886 2.95
1887 3.25
1888 3.60
1889 3.93
1890 4.27
1891 4.60
1892 4.96
1893 5.33
1894 5.71
1895 6.08
1896 6.44
1897 6.80
1898 7.17
1899 7.51
1900 7.92
1901 8.25
1902 8.60
1903 8.92
1904 9.25
1905 9.58
1906 9.91
1907 10.22
1908 10.53
1909 10.83
1910 11.14
1911 11.42
1912 11.73
1913 12.01
1914 12.31
1915 12.58
1916 12.85
1917 13.11
1918 13.39
1919 13.66
1920 13.96
1921 14.22
1922 14.49
1923 14.73
1924 14.97
1925 15.20
1926 15.44
1927 15.67
1928 15.89
1929 16.10
1930 16.33
1931 16.53
1932 16.74
1933 16.94
1934 17.14
1935 17.34
1936 17.53
1937 17.73
1938 17.94
1939 18.13
1940 18.34
1941 18.54
1942 18.75
1943 18.95
1944 19.16
1945 19.36
1946 19.58
1947 19.81
1948 20.04
1949 20.29
1950 20.53
1951 20.77
1952 21.02
1953 21.28
1954 21.55
1955 21.85
1956 22.13
1957 22.42
1958 22.71
1959 22.99
1960 23.27
1961 23.54
1962 23.81
1963 24.09
1964 24.37
1965 24.64
1966 24.92
1967 25.21
1968 25.50
1969 25.78
1970 26.09
1971 26.40
1972 26.72
1973 27.05
1974 27.38
1975 27.72
1976 28.05
1977 28.37
1978 28.68
1979 29.00
1980 29.33
1981 29.66
1982 30.00
1983 30.33
1984 30.68
1985 31.08
1986 31.53
1987 32.12
1988 33.09
1989 34.83
1990 37.67
1991 41.43
1992 45.54
1993 49.56
1994 53.49
1995 57.37
1996 61.19
1997 65.01
1998 68.86
1999 72.72
2000 76.66
2001 80.54
2002 84.41
2003 88.32
2004 92.25
2005 96.18
2006 100.00
SOURCE: Author's calculations based on the 2006 EPUF.
Table equivalent for Chart 7. Percentage distribution of individuals in EPUF in each capped Social Security taxable earnings status, by sex
Earnings status Percentage
Men Women
No earnings 47.9 52.0
Earnings during 1937–1950 only 56.6 43.2
Earnings during 1951–2006 only 50.8 49.2
Earnings during both periods 60.7 39.3
SOURCE: Author's calculations based on the 2006 EPUF.
NOTE: Rounded components of percentage distributions do not necessarily sum to 100.
Table equivalent for Chart A1. Number of individuals in EPUF with capped Social Security taxable earnings during 1937–1950, by year of birth and sex
Year of birth Number (in thousands)
Men Women
1870 0.93 0.11
1871 1.06 0.15
1872 1.59 0.25
1873 1.72 0.23
1874 2.05 0.35
1875 2.32 0.43
1876 2.68 0.49
1877 2.85 0.55
1878 3.06 0.67
1879 3.27 0.85
1880 3.86 1.00
1881 3.86 1.07
1882 4.53 1.27
1883 4.47 1.32
1884 5.21 1.66
1885 5.21 1.76
1886 5.56 1.91
1887 5.21 2.05
1888 6.31 2.47
1889 6.26 2.53
1890 6.36 2.65
1891 6.29 2.82
1892 7.25 3.28
1893 7.13 3.31
1894 7.23 3.62
1895 7.45 3.78
1896 7.64 4.04
1897 7.38 3.99
1898 7.84 4.51
1899 7.39 4.15
1900 8.76 4.96
1901 7.80 4.76
1902 8.85 5.18
1903 8.78 5.27
1904 9.06 5.70
1905 9.49 6.13
1906 9.48 6.12
1907 10.17 6.60
1908 10.36 7.01
1909 10.59 6.98
1910 10.84 7.47
1911 10.98 7.62
1912 11.53 8.08
1913 11.54 8.40
1914 12.12 9.00
1915 12.00 9.08
1916 12.16 9.24
1917 12.03 9.64
1918 12.71 10.27
1919 12.49 10.18
1920 13.19 11.08
1921 13.62 11.52
1922 12.87 11.42
1923 12.95 11.34
1924 13.06 11.93
1925 12.46 11.63
1926 12.40 11.07
1927 12.23 10.99
1928 11.80 10.55
1929 11.03 9.88
1930 10.80 9.26
1931 9.58 8.27
1932 8.61 7.26
1933 6.14 4.86
1934 4.12 2.78
1935 1.75 0.89
1936 0.70 0.26
1937 0.23 0.07
1938 0.08 0.03
1939 0.03 0.02
1940 0.02 0.01
1941 0.02 0.01
1942 0.01 0.01
1943 0.01 0.01
1944 0.01 0.01
1945 0.01 0.01
1946 0.02 0.02
1947 0.01 0.03
1948 0.01 0.02
1949 0.01 0.02
1950 0.01 0.02
SOURCE: Author's calculations based on the 2006 EPUF.