As you have probably figured out, there is a huge range of salaries for actors and actresses, mostly because so few actors are very successful, and a great number of aspiring performers struggle and have to find other jobs. For this reason there is no accurate annual salary for an actor, as well as due to the fact that many actors and actresses don’t work full time. However, when considering hourly wages for the profession, in what industry a person works and where they live can significantly impact their earnings.
Actors, on average, make around $35.97 an hour. Those in the lowest 10% of earners make less than $9.00 an hour, while the highest 10% of earners make around $45.00 an hour or more. There’s a lot that will affect how much money you earn as an actor. Most of the uncertainty is based on how able you are to find work – actresses who struggle to land jobs and don’t work full-time won’t earn as much money, while very successful actresses who become celebrities have the potential to make much, much more than $45.00 an hour. They won’t necessarily have to work full-time either, as it is unnecessary when making multiple millions of dollars for one movie. Another factor that affects how much money you make is the industry in which you work. It will probably not come as a surprise that you have the potential to earn the highest salary (over $44 an hour, on average) if you work in the motion picture and video industry. Other actresses mostly work on commercials and so are employed by the advertising industry, and make an average of $40.68 an hour. Independent artists and performers make around $40.10 an hour, those who work in radio and television broadcasting make around $31.25 an hour, and those who work in accounting and tax preparation (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that is possible) average around $30.93 an hour. If you become an actress you are also likely to work for a performing arts company or for an amusement park or arcade, although you will make substantially less in doing so.
Another factor that will influence your potential salary as an actor is where you live. Of course most actresses live in California, followed by New York, Illinois, New Jersey, and Louisiana. Cities that employ a lot of actors are New York, Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Santa Ana, Baltimore, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Las Vegas, and Atlanta (surprisingly Los Angeles isn’t on that list). You can also look at the concentration of actors in a given area, sometimes known as the location quotient. States with high concentrations of actresses are California, Hawaii, Louisiana, New Jersey, and New York. Cities with high location quotients are New Orleans, New York, Chicago, Lancaster (Pennsylvania), Tucson, Myrtle Beach (South Carolina), Virginia Beach, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, and Santa Ana (California). When it comes to income, pick your location carefully. States where you’ll make the most money include California, Nevada, New York, Ohio, and Oregon. Cities where you’ll earn the highest income include Las Vegas, New York, San Diego, Baltimore, Newark (New Jersey), Chicago, Santa Ana (California), San Antonio (Texas), Seattle, and Boston.