Income inequality in the U.S. hit a new high in 2018, according to recently released data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Paradoxically, within households, there is increasingly less inequality between husbands and wives. In fact, among married couples, wives now outearn their husbands nearly 30% of the time, up from 15.9% in 1981.
The number of married couples in which the wife is the primary breadwinner has risen dramatically over the past several decades with rising female education levels and declining wage gaps. Still, it appears the nation is not entirely at ease with the development. A recent study by the Census Bureau found that if a household has a female breadwinner, the wife tends to underreport her true earnings while the husband is more likely to overreport his, attempting to conform to traditional gender norms.
In addition, according to the Institute for Family Studies, 41% of female breadwinners still do more housework than their husbands, leading to lower satisfaction in their relationship. Interestingly, males who earn less than their wives do not experience this satisfaction penalty.
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