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Wives’ Share of U. S. Married Couple Income

The Atlantic Wire has posted a graph, constructed by Family Inequality’s Philip Cohen, that depicts wives’ share of married couple income since 1970 in the United States.  It is an enlightening graph and very much worth looking at for a number of reasons.

First, the point being made is that women are still most likely to make much less than their husbands.  The Atlantic‘s writer, Serena Dai, remarks that “wearing the pants in the family” probably requires contributing 51% or more.  I don’t know whether that is true nor do I think one should necessarily think of household decision-making in these all-or-nothing terms.  However, it should be humbling to those who would declare “the end of men” to see how far women still have to go before they would have intra-household equality, at least in income terms.

And it is true that having input on household decision-making generally does tend to go with having an income.  So the shift into the workforce since 1970s probably does, as one comment remarks, have massive implications for how life has changed in American homes.


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