It used to be that women typically got the most economic benefit out of marriage, since more women stayed home while their husbands went off to work. Now, new research from the Pew Research Center shows the tide is turning as a growing number of men enjoy more economic benefit. The report shows a big shift in marital dynamics as women now outpace men in both education and earnings growth. The research compared census data for adults in 2007 to their counterparts from 1970.
According to the report:
- A larger share of men in 2007, compared with their 1970 counterparts, are married to women whose education and income exceed their own.
- In 2007, median household incomes of three groups -- married men, married women and unmarried women -- were about 60% higher than those of their counterparts in 1970. But for a fourth group, unmarried men, the rise in real median household income was smaller -- just 16%
- In 1970, 28% of wives ages 30-44 had husbands who were better educated than they were, outnumbering the 20% whose husbands had less education. By 2007, these patterns had reversed: 19% of wives had husbands with more education, versus 28% whose husbands had less education. In the remaining couples -- about half in 1970 and 2007 -- spouses have similar education levels.
- Among U.S.-born 30- to 44-year-olds, women now are the majority both of college graduates and those who have some college education but not a degree. Women's earnings grew 44% from 1970 to 2007, compared with 6% growth for men. That sharper growth has enabled women to narrow, but not close, the earnings gap with men.
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