(March 2003) Men of all ages earn more money if they are married. In 2002, one-half of married men ages 15 to 24 earned at least $20,000 in the previous year. In contrast, only one in eight never-married men in that age group earned $20,000 or more. The same pattern occurs among men ages 35 to 44, with married men earning more than their never-married counterparts.
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Like married men, married women have higher personal earnings than women who have never married, but only at younger ages. About 18 percent of young, married women (ages 15 to 24) earned at least $20,000 in 2001, compared with 9 percent of young, never-married women. However, among women ages 35 to 44, never-married women had higher personal earnings than their married counterparts. Married women in this age group are more likely to have access to other sources of income — their spouses’ earnings — so there is less pressure for them to work full-time in the labor force compared with women who have never married.
AmeriStat, tabulations from the Census Bureau’s 2002 Current Population Survey (March Supplement); and P.N. Cohen and S. Bianchi, “Marriage, Children, and Women’s Employment: What Do We Know?” Monthly Labor Review 122, no. 12 (1999).