January 20, 2010

Marriage: A Sweet Deal for Dudes?

Culture, News, Research 1 Comment

It looks like marriage is a sweet deal after all–for dudes.

A new Pew Research Center report has uncovered that a larger share of today’s men, compared with their 1970 counterparts, are married to women whose education and income exceed their own, and a larger share of women are married to men with less education and income.

“In the past, when relatively few wives worked, marriage enhanced the economic status of women more than that of men,” wrote the report’s authors, Richard Fry and D’Vera Cohn. “In recent decades, however, the economic gains associated with marriage have been greater for men.”

Median household income rose 60 percent between 1970 and 2007 for married men, married women and unmarried women. It went up only 16 percent for unmarried men.

In 1970, according to the report, 28 percent of wives between 30 and 44 had husbands who were better educated than they were, outnumbering the 20 percent whose husbands had less education. By 2007, only 19 percent of wives had husbands with more education, compared with 28 percent whose husbands had less education.

Only 4 percent of husbands had wives who earned more than they did in 1970, compared with 22 percent in 2007.

During that span, women’s earnings grew 44 percent, compared with 6 percent growth for men, although a gender gap remains. According to 2009 Census Bureau figures, women with full-time jobs earned salaries equal to 77.9 percent of what men earned, compared with 52 percent in 1970.

The Pew report found that unmarried women in 2007 had higher household incomes than their 1970 counterparts at each level of education, while unmarried men without post-secondary education lost ground because their real earnings decreased and they didn’t have a wife’s wages to offset that decline.

Unmarried men with college degrees made income gains of 15 percent, but were outpaced by the 28 percent gains of unmarried women with degrees.

Ladies? One word: pre-nup. Trust me.

Information from the AP.

AV Flox

Your humble editrix-in-command.

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  • Sam

    Pre-nup? That’s bleak. One would hope that the shift in spending power would either a) give husbands the same choice wives have had in decades past to be the primary care-giver for children (stay-at-home parent) or b) give wives the bargaining power to enforce a more equal share of home-duties for the more reticent (traditional?) hubbies. Either way, I hope it’s not wishful thinking to look to women to share their new found gains in the same way men have been expected to. ;)

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