More Wives Outearning their Husbands

NEW YORK – Almost one-quarter of men are married to women whose income tops theirs — more than five times the percentage from four decades ago, according to a research group report released Tuesday.

The Pew Research Center said 22% of husbands made less than their wives in 2007, the latest year available, compared with 4% in 1970. The report polled U.S.-born 30- to 44-year olds.

In 1970, 28% of wives had less education than their husbands and only 20% had more schooling. By 2007, the trend reversed, as 19% of wives had husbands with more education, versus 28% whose husbands had less education.

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.

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