More wives out-earning husbands - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

More wives out-earning husbands

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WASHINGTON. - Marriage: Is it a better deal for men or women?

Based purely on economics, a new study found men may be getting the better end of the deal.

It used to be that when women married, their financial situation improved because more husbands worked, and wives' didn't, but that's changed.

In 1970, only four percent of women earned more than their husbands.

Presently, the Pew Research Center found it's 22 percent.

That makes marriage a better deal economically for men.

"When a man contemplates marriage, now, he's getting a working spouse, someone who's bringing in significant amounts of income," said the Pew Center's Richard Fry.

On the flip side, the study found more women are marrying men who earn the same or less and have less education and that's giving women a greater voice in family finances.

"We found that when wives earn more than husbands, they're more likely to have the final say in the financial decisions," said the Pew Center's D'Vera Cohn.

Critics point out women who stay at home are still helping the bottom line.

"I have a nanny. I eat a lot of take-out meals. A woman who might not earn as much as me might be providing that childcare and making those meals for her family therefore providing an economic benefit that's simply not captured by wages," said University of Pennsylvania Wharton's Betsey Stevenson.

While many people don't pick their mates based on income, this research suggests income may play an important role after you say "I do."

The study found women's incomes have jumped 44 percent since 1970.

Men's incomes rose just four percent, but men, on average, still earn more.

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