Earthquake input energy and structural energy dissipation are key indicators to assess the seismic performance of structures. To study the rules of distribution of hysteretic energy within structures, a 6-storey regular reinforced concrete frame structure model is analyzed through elasto-plastic time-history dynamic analysis using the El Centro and Northridge accelerograms. Based on the comparison between numerical results for the earthquake input energy and structural hysteretic energy under the minor, moderate and major earthquakes of Grade 8 and 9, the distribution of the ratio of the storey hysteretic energy to the total hysteretic energy through the height was further studied. It shows that the computed results corresponding to the two earthquake records are in good agreement under different ground motion severity. And the percentage of structural hysteretic energy to input energy is basically stable. The distribution pattern of storey hysteretic energy through the height is that the value of the upper stories is smaller than the value of the lower stories. And the ground motion severity has a minor influence on the distribution pattern when the plasticity of structure develops more sufficiently.