Poll: Growing Number of Married U.S. Households ‘Egalitarian’ in Earnings

A growing number of U.S. households are “egalitarian” in that the husband and wife bring home the same amount of money, a Pew Research survey found.

The survey found that married men, across the board, remain the main breadwinner in the family — 55 percent. However, the percentage of egalitarian households — where the husband and wife bring in the same amount of income — is on the rise.

According to the data, the “share of women who earn as much as or significantly more than their husband has roughly tripled over the past 50 years,” as couples in 29 percent of marriages bring in the same amount of monetary contributions to the family. Just 16 percent of married couples see the wife as the primary breadwinner of the family.

Further, the data showed men as the “sole” breadwinner dropping over the last 50 years. In 1972, men were the sole breadwinners in 49 percent of marriages. That has changed drastically; in modern day, less than a quarter of men, 23 percent, are the only breadwinners of their families. Just six percent of marriages see the wife as the “sole” financial provider.

However, while there is a clear rise in egalitarianism among married couples’ financial situations, the balance in home life still lacks, as women still tend to take on more household duties.

According to the survey:

This is true in egalitarian marriages – where both spouses earn roughly the same amount of money – and in marriages where the wife is the primary earner. The only marriage type where husbands devote more time to caregiving than their wives is one in which the wife is the sole breadwinner. In those marriages, wives and husbands spend roughly the same amount of time per week on household chores.

In egalitarian and breadwinner wife marriages, husbands spend considerably more time on leisure activities than wives. Husbands in egalitarian marriages spend about 3.5 hours more per week on leisure activities than wives do. Wives in these marriages spend roughly 2 hours more per week on caregiving than husbands do and about 2.5 hours more on housework. In marriages where wives are the primary earners, husbands’ leisure time increases significantly (compared with egalitarian marriages), while the time they spend on caregiving and housework stays about the same. When wives are the sole earners, the amount of time husbands spend on caregiving and housework does tick up somewhat.

The survey also found that the perceived value of these contributions — at both work and home — differ. For instance, only seven percent believe society “values men’s contributions at home more than those at work,” while 31 percent said society values women’s contributions at home more than work. Further, most Americans, 77 percent, believe parents should be focused “equally” on work and home for the sake of their children, while just 19 percent believe in the more traditional role of the mother focusing more on the home and the father focusing more on work.

The survey was taken January 18-24, 2023, among 5,152 U.S. adults and comes well over two years into President Joe Biden’s presidency, where Americans have experienced prolonged inflation, triggering financial strains across the board. A recent Wall Street Journal survey found 64 percent of registered voters indicating that high inflation is placing a strain on their finances.

As Breitbart News reported:

Across household incomes, 26 percent of voters earning between $100,001 and $150,00 reported that surging inflation is imposing major financial pressures on their families, a seven percent increase from August and 12 percent from March.

Fifty-four percent of respondents earning under $60,000 say they were experiencing major financial strains, up three percent from August and seven percent from March.

A recent Gallup survey also found Americans most worried about inflation and the economy.



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