Do Married Men Make More Money?

Whether men or women make more money has been an age long question, particularly with controversy over the undeniable wage gap between each gender, but what about the difference in wages between single and married men? While it’s common these days for many to consider marriage as “just a piece of paper”, does marriage actually make men earn more than not only the single population of the gender – but also everyone else as well?

According to new research, Men, and in particular, men who are married, are at the top of the salary ladder. A September 2018 Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis report synopsis confirmed that the “average male worker earns a higher wage than the average female worker.” The most surprising part? According to the research, married men don’t just out-earn single individuals, they also out-earn everyone else by approximately $30,000.

The study was based on a recent assessment at the University of Minnesota where data was collected and focused on wage and salary incomes of employed men and women with at least a high school diploma. The results showed that men, single or married, earn approximately $5,000 to $15,000 more than women throughout their 20s, and that married men earn more than single men and women — single or married — by a higher margin throughout their entire lives.

However, the study’s results also cautioned that the findings don’t always mean that men are earning more money because they are married, and that the results could suggest rather that “men with higher wages are more likely to marry; therefore, the average married man earns a higher wage than the average single man.”

Researchers suggested that men often get married at an older age than women, which results in why the difference in wages is less pronounced earlier in life, such as in their 20s. Researchers also suggested why the wage gap is so much greater throughout people’s 30s, 40s and 50s, however, is more difficult. According to the research, at around age 30, married men’s salaries began to increase dramatically compared to others — showing that they make approximately $15,000 more than single men and single and married women. By age 40, the salaries of married men had rose above men in the other groups by approximately $30,000.

The salary difference between men and women is “noticeably less pronounced,”  said Guillaume Vandenbroucke, a research officer at the Fed. “It is tempting to ascribe this latter point to the fact that younger women are more likely to get married, have children, and eventually withdraw from the labor force,” he added. “Once out of the labor force, these women would not accumulate human capital, and, subsequently, they would lose ground relative to men. This would explain why the difference in wages grows with age.”

According to the research, married men aged 45 to 60 out-earn other groups by as much as $35,000. After age 64, married men’s salaries are still ahead of the other groups’ salaries by approximately $30,000, but the gap between married men and single men drops to approximately $25,000. As men and women near retirement, their salaries both decline, but the gap remains consistent.

Previous research conducted by The Washington Posted has suggested that men who are married work about 400 hours more per year than their single peers with equivalent backgrounds. They also reportedly work more strategically. One Harvard study previously found that married men were less likely to quit their current job without the security of another one to transition into.

One theory titled “The Marriage Effect” claims the bonds of marriage give men motivation to work and support their families, resulting in larger salaries.

The data also proved that women earn less than men, but also showed that married women earn more than single women. Although married men earn up to $30,000 more than single men, married women only out-earn single women by about $5,000 to $10,000, conditionally, depending on age.


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