Friday, February 19, 2010

The New Economics of Marriage: The Rise of Wives

A recent Pew Research Center report shows significant shifts in the gender roles and economic benefits of marriage to each spouse. In 1970, only four percent of married women earned more than their husbands. By 2007, 22 percent of women brought home the bigger paycheck.

The report attributes the increasing role reversal to women's comparative educational gains. In 1970, a man's education exceeded his wife's in 28 percent of marriages, while wives had acquired more education in 20 percent of unions. The 2007 data shows a complete reversal; a woman's education exceeded her husband's in 28 percent of marriages, and his educational attainment exceeded hers in 19 percent of unions.

The ladies' increased earning power has meant the economic benefits from marriage have been greater for men in recent decades. In the past, when fewer women worked, marriage tended to elevate her economic status more than his. The report summary explains: "Forty years ago, the typical man did not gain another breadwinner in his household when he married. Today, he does -- giving his household increased earning power that most unmarried men do not enjoy."

To read more about the changing economics of marriage, see the full report. (

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps wages have not kept up with cost of living, so both partners are forced to work to maintain economic parity?