Earning wives brought home almost half of the bacon in 2009: Report

Washington, Oct 9 (ANI): In the second year of global recession, women's contribution to family earnings increased by two percent, says a new report.

The jump of two percentage points from 45 percent in 2008 to 47 percent in 2009, marks the largest single-year increase in 15 years.

This rise has been documented in a new fact sheet from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

"As husbands lose their jobs, family earnings plummet, and the role of wives' earnings often becomes critical to keeping families afloat," said fact sheet author Kristin Smith, a family demographer at the Carsey Institute.

"Make no mistake: this increase is not due to advancement or opportunities for women, but rather it is an indication of hard financial times for families," he said.

An additional key finding is that almost half the total increase in wives' share of family earnings over the past 15 years occurred during the Great Recession.

Over thirteen years, from 1995 to 2007, employed wives' share of total family earnings grew by four percentage points.

In contrast, from 2007 to 2009 (the two years of the recession) employed wives' share grew by three percentage points.

The large increase in wives' roles as family breadwinners is not due to an increase in their earnings (in fact, the median earnings of employed wives, but rather to a decrease in husband's employment as the economy disproportionately shed male-dominated jobs during the recession.

"The massive job loss over the 18 months of the recession, primarily in male-dominated industries, has left many families with lower earnings, and has placed an unprecedented importance on wives' earnings to keep families afloat," said Smith.

The fact sheet, "Wives as Breadwinners: Wives' Share of Family Earnings Hits Historic High during Second Year of Great Recession," is available to download on:

http://www.carseyinstitute.unh.edu/publications/IB-Smith-Breadwinners10.pdf. (ANI)

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