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What is an Aggregate Income?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2016
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    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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Aggregate income is the total amount of income that is generated by a specific group of individuals. The term is used to refer to the collective income generated as part of a national economy, the income generated by a group of companies within the same industry, or even the total household income generated by the members of the household. There are several situations in which calculating aggregate income is advantageous as well as necessary.

For households, determining the amount of aggregate income generated over the course of a calendar year can be advantageous when calculating the total taxes due for that period. In a number of nations, federal tax agencies provide some incentives for spouses to file joint tax returns, rather than each spouse filing separately. By choosing to aggregate their generated income for the tax period, the household is likely to owe fewer taxes and thus receive a higher joint return than they would have received with individual returns.

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Businesses can also benefit from the aggregate income model when calculating expenses of various types. This is especially true when planning budgets for various departments. Along with identifying the individual salaries and wages of current employees, the department can also incorporate resources into the budget plan that allow for granting cost of living increases, merit increases, and possibly adding additional personnel during the budget period. Considering the aggregate income projected for the upcoming operational year allows the business to plan in a manner that ensures it is possible to maintain the right balance in the labor force, while still remaining within budget.

Aggregate income is also important to the calculation of the Gross Domestic Product or GDP of a country. Generally, this figure is calculated without allowing for income from taxes or adjusting the figures for inflation that occurs during the period under consideration. Calculating the cumulative income of all the entities involved makes it easier to identify true GDP with more accuracy, and thus allow lawmakers to be in a better position to enact legislation that will help make it easier to reach and maintain a balanced budget.

The key function of aggregate income is for the specified group to accurately understand how much income is generated during the identified period of time. This in turn creates the basis for identifying ways to make use of that income so that the highest degree of satisfaction is realized from the efforts used to generate that income. This simple principle of distribution economics helps to create sound financial bases that prepare the group for the future, and make it possible to obtain goals that would have been difficult to achieve if the approach were to consider individual incomes only.

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