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The Nationwide Salary Summary

Learn more about the first section of every ChurchSalary report. What is the blue chart showing you? And what do all the labels mean?

Your report from ChurchSalary contains several sections. The first one features our iconic blue chart. What do all these numbers mean?

What are you seeing?

The Nationwide Salary Summary shows you just that … a nationwide summary of salaries.

To produce these numbers, ChurchSalary analyzes survey data from real pastors and staff from across the country. The figures are a snapshot of salaries based on similar employees serving at similar churches.

The blue chart shows you the distribution of these salaries.

There are three labels on the chart and these numbers are repeated below:

  1. First quartile
  2. Median
  3. Third quartile

The median is simply the middle point—50 percent of salaries fall above or below this number.

The first and third quartiles show you the 25th and 75th percentiles. These figures are reproduced and labeled as the “salary range” below the chart. Quartiles divide the distribution graph into four segments just like there are four quarters in a dollar. So, 75 percent of salaries will be higher than the first quartile and 75 percent will be lower than the third quartile.

These numbers are designed to help you perform the first of three salary review steps — setting a basic range. To learn more about these steps, watch our video on How to Use Your Report.

For now, all you need to know is that these numbers set the basic salary range for your position. Employees with less experience and minimum qualifications will start out at the bottom. Employees with more experience and better qualifications, as well as a track record of success, will start higher—or they will move themselves up within this range over time.

The majority of salaries—fifty percent—will fall between the first and third quartile.

Of all the data in your report, think of this first section as the home base or foundation.

What about housing allowances?

If you are looking at a pastoral report, you will see a housing allowance ratio at the bottom. In our example, the ratio is 30 percent.

Housing costs, as I’m sure you know, vary widely between not only cities but even neighborhoods. The number here captures the average ratio of housing allowance to total compensation for similar pastors nationwide.

ChurchSalary provides housing allowance data in the first two sections of every pastoral report: here and in the next section, the Localized Salary Recommendation.


This nationwide ratio is a basic guide. If housing allowance for a pastor is too far above or below the ratio in your report, something may be wrong.

To learn more about ChurchSalary’s reports, check out the rest the videos in our Understanding Your Salary Report series.

Thank you for choosing ChurchSalary. If you haven’t already consider taking our National Church Compensation Survey, especially if your church is handling things like compensation factors well. We want to hear about it. Together, we can help more churches.

Lilly Endowment

ChurchSalary is made possible through funding from the Lilly Endowment Inc. As part of Lilly's "National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders," ChurchSalary—and our parent, Church Law & Tax—is committed to helping church leaders and pastors develop an atmosphere of healthy financial stewardship, especially in the area of church staff compensation.