Not everyone agrees with The Atlantic's Hanna Rosin's argument that the end of men is upon us. Family Inequality's Philip N. Cohen uses this chart to explain that the statistic saying many women are earning 51 percent or more of household income is not enough to explain the man-wife dynamic.
Cohen used census data from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series to look at all straight married couples, not just ones where the wife is working. He added the income of husband and wife and then calculated the percentage coming from the wife in ten year intervals.
As you can see, there has been a significant drop in the number of women who are not contributing to household income at all, from 46 percent to 18.7 percent. And there has been an increase in the percentage of women who are making money, with the biggest proportionate increases in the middle ranges--ie, between 40 and 59 percent.
But "earning 51% of the couple’s earnings doesn’t make one 'the breadwinner,' and doesn’t determine who 'wears the pants'," Cohen writes. Dominance and power requires more than 51 percent, and the graph still looks thin at the higher end of the axis, which represents the wife's income as a percentage of total.
So while the trend is toward the wife earning a higher percentage of family income, Cohen argues that the overall picture as seen in the graph above shows the role of majority breadwinner still largely belongs to men. "Maybe it’s just the feminist in me that brings out the stickler in these posts," Cohen says, "but I don’t think this shows us to be very far along on the road to female-dominance."
For more analysis, go to Family Inequality.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.