Both husband and wife work for pay in majority of married-couple families

May 27, 1999

There were 53.7 million married-couple families in the United States in 1998. In over half of them, both the husband and wife were employed. These dual-worker families accounted for 53.1 percent of married-couple families.

Distribution of married-couple families by presence of employed members, 1998
[Chart data TXT]

Families in which only the husband worked for pay comprised 19.2 percent of all married-couple families. In 5.3 percent of families maintained by married couples, only the wife was employed.

No one worked for pay in 16.1 percent of married-couple families. This category includes couples in which both the husband and wife are retired.

These data on married-couple families are produced by the Current Population Survey. A family is defined here as a group of two or more persons residing together who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption. More information can be found in "Employment Characteristics of Families in 1998," news release USDL 99-146.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Both husband and wife work for pay in majority of married-couple families on the Internet at (visited September 26, 2016).


Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics

  • A look at healthcare spending, employment, pay, benefits, and prices
    As one of the largest U.S. industries, healthcare is steadily growing to meet the needs of an increasing population with an increasing life expectancy. This Spotlight looks at how much people spend on healthcare, current and projected employment in the industry, employer-provided healthcare benefits, healthcare prices, and pay for workers in healthcare occupations.

  • Employment and Wages in Healthcare Occupations
    Healthcare occupations are a significant percentage of U.S. employment. Some of the largest and highest paying occupations are in healthcare. This Spotlight examines employment and wages for healthcare occupations.

  • Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
    Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.