It is much more common these days for couples in a household to both earn incomes than it is for only one of them to. Among couple households, both married or unmarried, about 82 percent of them were dual income. This is based on the five-year American Community Survey from 2016.
That leaves about 18 percent of couple households where only one partner earns an income. I wanted to know what the earner in these homes usually do. I also wanted to know if there was some income threshold that allowed for only one earner.
As is usually the case, the answers weren’t so clear-cut.
I initially approached this dataset with mostly high-income households in mind. The families I know who are single-income typically have the means. They can afford for one person to stay at home with kids or maintain the house. I expected a clear upwards trend that showed more income meant higher percentage of single-income.
This was kind of the case. For the occupations with a wider range of income, you can see the upwards trend.
However, for the occupations with a narrower range, other factors appear to be in play. Maybe it’s the cost of childcare that keeps one person at home? Maybe the cost of living tends to be lower, so a higher income is unnecessary? How does this compare with single-parent households?
Lots of other questions to answer. If only there was somewhere to download the data. If only.
- This is based on the 5-year American Community Survey from 2016. I downloaded the microdata from IPUMS.
- I used R for analysis and data prepration. I used D3.js to visualize the data. I also used Scrollama for the scrolling format. I used d3-annotation for tooltips.