Married Men Are Earning More Than Any Other Group in America, Report Says

September 19, 2018 Updated: September 19, 2018

Married men sit at the highest rung of the wage ladder in the United States, according to new data released by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Single men and single women had little difference in their incomes throughout their careers, according to an analysis by Guillaume Vandenbroucke, a Fed research officer. But married men far exceeded all other groups in terms of salary.

The salaries of married men reached highs of $80,000 throughout their careers and stayed around that number for at least 20 years. Meanwhile, married women, single men, and single women all hovered around highs of $40,000 to $50,000, according to data from people employed in 2016 with at least a high school diploma.

“Whether they are men or women, single workers earn very similar wages,” the report said. “Second, married and single women also earn similar wages. This is surprising since married women may be more likely to have children than single women.”

Vandenbroucke analyzed why wages increased for married men, especially later in life.

“Men often marry later than women, so there are relatively few married men in their 20s. This explains why… the difference in wages is less pronounced earlier in life: The average male worker in his 20s is more likely to be single than married,” he said.

But Vandenbroucke said the data doesn’t necessarily mean getting married directly correlates to an increase in wages for men.

“It might be that men with higher wages are more likely to marry; therefore, the average married man earns a higher wage than the average single man,” he wrote in the summary.

The study also found that since married and single women both make similar wages, it quells the assumption that having children affects the gender wage gap. The data is “not consistent with the view that the gender wage gap results from women having children earlier in life and losing ground in human capital accumulation relative to men,” Vandenbroucke wrote.

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