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Why There Are Fewer Married-Couple Households In The Bottom Half Of The Income Distribution

 

“Better educated people are increasingly more likely to marry other better educated people while those with less formal schooling are more likely to choose a less educated partner”

Why there are fewer married-couple households in the bottom half of the income distribution

Thirty-five percent of all married-couple households have income greater than $100,000. Just 25 percent of married-couple households have income below $50,000.

Marriage has gradually become an institution of the well-off and that is largely because of advances in women‘s education. For every new generation, more women than men are getting a college education.

But one thing has remained constant: Women have not changed their standards of minimally acceptable living levels for setting up a marital household. That is, they still want to marry men who demonstrate higher earning capability.

“Couples getting married today tend to be more educated and the chance of a marriage ending in divorce decreases as educational attainment rises. Education facilitates economic security, which helps to stabilize marriages”

Exhibit 7-1: The Impact of combining, through marriage, two incomes at similar education levels

Impact of combining two income at similar education levels

Exhibit 7-2: Total household income received by each fifth of households (1993-2013)

Total Household Income Received By Each Quintile.png

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Annual Social and Economic Supplements, Equity Communications

Exhibit 7-3: Share of aggregate income received by each fifth of households (1970-2013)

Share of Aggregate Incomes.png

U.S. Census Bureau, Annual Social and Economic Supplements, Equity Communications

Exhibit 7-4: Distribution of American households by income classification 1993 to 2013

Distribution of Households by Income Class.png

U.S. Census Bureau, Annual Social and Economic Supplements. Income classification is by Equity Communications

Exhibit 7-5: Impact of two recessions on the distribution of household income (1993-2013)

Distribution of Households by Income level Historical.png

U.S. Census Bureau, Annual Social and Economic Supplements. Income classification is by Equity Communications

Exhibit 7-6: Number of households in each income classification post 2001 recession and post 2009 Great Recession

Number of households in each income classification post 2001 recession and post 2009  Great Recession

Exhibit 7-7: 2014 Income Snapshot for Households 

Income Report: Household Income Distribution By Age of Householder in 2013

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