“Even though financial contributions have become more equal in marriages, the way couples divide their time between paid work and family life remains unbalanced,” said the Pew study, quoted by CNN.
Pew found that in 29 percent of heterosexual marriages today, women and men earn about the same (about $60,000 each). “Husbands in egalitarian marriages spend approximately 3.5 hours more per week on leisure activities than wives. Wives in these marriages spend about 2 hours a week more than husbands on caregiving and about 2.5 hours more than husbands on household chores,” the study states.
In 55 percent of same-sex marriages, men are the primary or sole breadwinners, earning an average of $96,000, compared to $30,000 for their wives.
Meanwhile, in 16% of marriages, wives overtake their husbands as the main (10%) or sole breadwinner (6%). In these marriages, women earn an average of $88,000 compared to $35,000 for their husbands.
Of all these categories, the only one in which men are reported to spend more time caring than their wives is when the woman is the sole breadwinner. And the time spent per week on household chores in these marriages is divided equally between husbands and wives.
In any case, it’s a big change from 50 years ago – when, for example, husbands were the main breadwinner in 85% of marriages.
Pew found that black women are “significantly more likely” than other women to earn more than their husbands. For example, 26 percent of black women bring home more than their husbands, while only 17 percent of white women and 13 percent of Hispanic women do.
But black women with a college degree or higher and few children at home are also among the most likely to earn about the same as their husbands.
These figures are reported against the backdrop of societal attitudes about who should earn more and how caregiving should be shared between spouses.
Nearly half of Americans (48%) in the Pew poll said husbands would prefer to earn more than their wives, while 13% said men would prefer their wives to earn about as much as they do.
What do women want? Twenty-two percent of Americans said most women want a husband who earns more, while 26% said most would like a man who earns about the same.
Meanwhile, when it comes to having a family, 77% said children are better off when both parents focus equally on work and childcare. Only 19% said that children are better off when their mother focuses more on family life and their father focuses more on his job.
The Pew study is based on three data sources: earnings data from the US Census’ Current Population Survey; data from the American Time Use Survey and a nationally representative survey of public attitudes among 5,152 American adults conducted in January.
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