Who Earns More Income in American Households?

Compared to 1970, a shift towards women making the higher income.

As we know, more women are in the workforce now than there were in the 1970s. However, oftentimes men and women tend to work different types of jobs, which leads to differences in income. In households with male-female partners, it’s still much more common for the male to earn more than the female.

Based on data from the Census and the American Community Survey, we can see the differences more concretely. Again, looking at households with male-female partners (not necessarily married), 69 percent of males earned more than their female partner, and 24 percent of females earned more than their male partners. The percentages don’t add up to 100, because some partners record the same income, which I’m guessing are many family-run businesses.

 

Here is a more granular comparison, which plots the male income versus female income. When you flip between 1970 and 2015, you can see the increase in incomes overall and the distribution shifting sort of counter clockwise as women are earning more.

Or, if you prefer a less split view, here’s the change in the ratio of female income to male income. A ratio greater than one means the female makes more than their male partner. In 2000, the 75th percentile mark was right at the even line. By 2010, the ratio rose, but didn’t change much in between 2010 and 2015.

You can see a similar trend when you look at the percentage of males and females who did not earn an income. It’s interesting to see that quick fall for females between 1970 and 1990, from 42 to 20 percent, respectively. It’s still rare to see male-female households where only the female works.

Will the lines ever converge?

Become a member. Support an independent site. Make great charts.

See What You Get

Learn to Visualize Data See All →

How to Make an Interactive Network Visualization

Interactive network visualizations make it easy to rearrange, filter, and explore your connected data. Learn how to make one using D3 and JavaScript.

Build Interactive Area Charts with Filters

When you have several time series over many categories, it can be useful to show them separately rather than put it all in one graph. This is one way to do it interactively with categorical filters.

How to Make an Animated Growth Map in R

Although time series plots and small multiples can go a long way, animation can make your data feel more real and relatable. Here is how to do it in R via the animated GIF route.

Moving Past Default R Charts

Customizing your charts doesn’t have to be a time-intensive process. With just a teeny bit more effort, you can get something that fits your needs.

Favorites

Shifting Incomes for American Jobs

For various occupations, the difference between the person who makes the most and the one who makes the least can be significant.

Divorce Rates for Different Groups

We know when people usually get married. We know who never marries. Finally, it’s time to look at the other side: divorce and remarriage.

A Day in the Life: Work and Home

I simulated a day for employed Americans to see when and where they work.

Cuisine Ingredients

What are the ingredients that make each cuisine? I looked at 40,000 recipes spanning 20 cuisines and 6,714 ingredients to see what makes food taste different.