More wives outearning their husbands

By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The financial balance of power in American marriages is shifting.

A Pew Research Center survey released Tuesday found that 22% of men made less money than their wives in 2007.

By comparison, 4% of husbands earned less than their wives in 1970.

A shift in education patterns was a factor in the Pew report, which polled U.S.-born 30- to 44-year olds.

In 1970, 28% of husbands had more education than their wives. By 2007, that figure dropped to 19%.

Slightly more than half of spouses had the same education level in both 1970 and 2007, the most recent year for which data were available.

"For a long time, men didn't need education to make a decent wage -- they could go into manufacturing or other labor," said Jenny Wittner, associate director of the advocacy group Women Employed.

"Women had to get an education to keep up, and over the years that has started to translate into a difference in wages," Wittner added.

The report cited several societal and economic reasons for the jump. Marriage rates have declined across the board since 1970, and rates have gone down most sharply for the least educated.

The most educated are far more likely than those with less education to be married, and that gap that has widened since 1970. And since more education is linked to higher earnings, marriage especially boosts a household's spending power.

Pew's report was compiled from data collected before the recession hit, and said that the downturn will only exacerbate those trends as men have especially felt the job crunch.

The report cited government data that said males accounted for about 75% of the 2008 decline in employment among "prime-working-age individuals." As a result, the percentage of women in the workforce continues to inch toward equilibrium, as women now comprise 47.4% of the total.

But Wittner noted "it may not stay a so-called 'men's recession' forever, and that shift will hurt households as the woman's income becomes more important."

Unmarried adults and the marriage advantage: For singles at all levels of education, men's incomes fared worse. In 2007, unmarried women had higher income than their 1970 counterparts. But single men without any college education saw their inflation-adjusted earnings decrease, and they did not have a wife's wages cushion the decline.

Similarly, single men who did not complete high school or who had only a high school diploma had lower household incomes in 2007 than their 1970 counterparts -- those with some college education saw income remain the same.

One exception to the marriage advantage: Married women without a high school diploma saw their inflation-adjusted household incomes fall 2% from 1970 to 2007, while those of their single counterparts grew 9%.  To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,408.54 -16.31 -0.10%
Nasdaq 4,095.52 9.29 0.23%
S&P 500 1,864.85 2.54 0.14%
Treasuries 2.72 0.08 3.19%
Data as of 3:36pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.15 0.00 0.00%
Facebook Inc 58.94 0.00 0.00%
General Electric Co 26.56 0.00 0.00%
Cisco Systems Inc 23.21 0.00 0.00%
Micron Technology In... 23.91 0.00 0.00%
Data as of Apr 17
Sponsors

Sections

Spencer has been a supporting member of the "Good Morning America" cast for the past three years. More

Obamacare sign ups hit 8 million, though final enrollment remains to be seen. More

Office for iPad move is a symbolic victory for Nadella's Microsoft, but the company is still weighed down by many of the same old issues. More

Schwinn, Trek and Cannondale are all iconic American bicycle brands. But none of them are made in the United States. More

As Detroit moves closer to reaching a bankruptcy deal, retired civilian workers are poised to be left worse off than firemen and police officers. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.