Single ladies

If you’re wanting to feel depressed, have a look at this graph.

What’s most disconcerting is the startling *increase* in the gap between the median incomes of single women and other wage earners. I wouldn’t have expected that.

Comforting to know that conservatives will look at this data and conclude “hey, those women should be married; that would make it all better!”

5 thoughts on “Single ladies

  1. “Those women should be married”–the perennial conservative line for conservative critics of welfare starting with (1965) Moynahan’s hypothesis that the source of the poor blacks faced was matriarchy. And the solution was to take away women’s government benefits so that they’d be forced into marriage and dependence on men.

    We still hear echoes of this–and the idea that the various social problems the underclass face are a consequence of women’s refusal to get married. Really? One problem is a dearth of available males since so many poor, young black men are in prison. Another is–hello? How many of those that are out are willing to get married–much less to enter into the kind of traditional male-breadwinner family arrangement conservatives favor?

    Across the board, rich and poor, it’s primarily women who want to get married and men who don’t.

  2. Am I reading this graph wrong? How can “all married families” be exclusive of “married, wife not in labour force”?
    But I agree that it is depressing on the whole to see that women householders are at the bottom of the wage earners, although I must say not really surprising.

  3. Where is the line for families ‘married, husband not in paid labour force’? Or is wife used here to indicate the lesser paid worker by default? Or division by race or geographical location? Or are there figures for the amount of house owners of any description? This would affect say, if there 50% more female single house owners, yes they earn less generally but they are entering the property market. Or same sex couples etc.? Sorry, ‘families’ as a neat box is a red flag.

  4. Christine, I think “married, wife not in labor force” is meant to be a subset of “all married families”. As far as I can tell, they calculated the median household income for all married families, and then did separate calculations for the median household income of married families where both partners work and married families where only the husband works. The graph represents these various calculations.

    (Anna-Lena, I don’t think there’s any assumption that the sub-groups for which the median income was calculated together add up to 100% of families. The median incomes graphed are just the particular variables this study was looking at.)

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