It's increasingly common, Hanna Rosin reports:
Already, younger people's relationships look radically different. A recent breakdown of census data showed that in all but three of the 150 biggest cities in the United States, young women age 30 and under are making more money than young men. Even if that changes when the women have children, such a vast shift in earning power suggests that the next generation may make different decisions about whose salary counts more and who should be the family's primary breadwinner...
I've lately started to encounter more and more women who outearn their husbands. Some couples seem to ease into the dynamic naturallythe woman is a born workaholic and the man lives at a slower pace, picking up contract work, savoring his afternoon coffee. One mother at our preschool can't stop bragging about her stay-at-home husbandalthough I am still startled by the sight of him hanging around the school, helping the teachers make handprint T-shirts. Some dynamics are not so pleasant and confirm the few studies claiming that these unions tend to be more unstable. One woman I know never seems to run out of ways to call her husband, who works as a part-time airline mechanic, a loser. Another complains about the small things: Why does he spend all her money on dress socks if he hasn't had a job interview in over a year and why does he have to subscribe to every damned sports channel and why will he never clean up after himself? In a couple of cases I know of, the disparity never felt natural and the couple got divorced.
Wait, why does he spend all his money on dress socks? The Wall Street Journal noted the numbers behind this phenomenon last September:
Beyond major cities such as San Francisco and New York, the income imbalance is pronounced in blue-collar hubs and the fast-growing metro areas that have large immigrant populations. The greatest disparity is in Atlanta, where young, childless women were paid 121% the level of their male counterparts, according to Reach Advisors.
...women on the whole haven't reached equal status in any particular job or education level. For instance, women with a bachelor's degree had median earnings of $39,571 between 2006 and 2008, compared with $59,079 for men at the same education level, according to the Census. At every education level, from high-school dropouts to Ph.D.s, women continue to earn less than their male peers.