Working wives in married-couple families, 1967–2011

June 02, 2014

Among married-couple families, 53 percent had earnings from both the wife and the husband in 2011, compared with 44 percent in 1967. Couples in which only the husband worked represented 19 percent of married-couple families in 2011, versus 36 percent in 1967.

Percentage of married-couple families by relationship of earners, 1967–2011
YearHusband and wifeHusband onlyNo earnersWife onlyHusband and other family member

1967

43.635.66.81.710.7

1968

45.034.96.61.710.3

1969

45.734.16.81.810.2

1970

45.733.37.31.910.3

1971

44.933.77.62.210.1

1972

45.733.07.82.29.8

1973

46.930.88.52.49.6

1974

47.329.89.12.69.4

1975

46.730.010.32.98.1

1976

48.028.410.33.08.0

1977

48.827.310.83.07.9

1978

50.825.610.83.17.4

1979

52.124.311.33.17.1

1980

51.823.612.03.56.9

1981

51.823.212.53.46.5

1982

50.823.212.94.16.3

1983

52.122.113.13.96.0

1984

53.620.813.23.75.7

1985

54.520.413.13.75.4

1986

55.919.413.13.75.3

1987

56.618.913.03.85.0

1988

58.618.113.03.44.4

1989

58.917.613.03.54.5

1990

59.017.413.03.54.5

1991

59.116.913.53.84.1

1992

58.717.113.64.03.6

1993

58.816.413.74.53.9

1994

59.616.213.44.43.8

1995

59.816.513.64.23.5

1996

60.416.213.34.13.5

1997

60.316.213.44.23.4

1998

59.816.813.24.43.1

1999

60.316.412.94.73.3

2000

59.816.813.24.63.3

2001

59.316.913.54.83.3

2002

58.517.613.64.93.2

2003

57.518.113.95.23.1

2004

57.118.613.85.23.2

2005

57.318.213.85.33.1

2006

57.418.113.75.53.0

2007

57.617.813.55.63.2

2008

57.317.913.75.82.9

2009

55.218.114.56.63.1

2010

54.118.714.86.83.1

2011

52.819.115.56.83.1

Note: Estimates do not sum to 100 percent because not all groups are shown. Estimates are not shown for families in which the wife and another family member were earners or families where neither the husband nor wife were earners but some other family member had earnings.

In 2011, working wives contributed 37 percent of their families’ incomes, up by 10 percentage points from 1970, when wives’ earnings accounted for 27 percent of their families’ total income.

Wives' earnings as a percentage of family income, 1970–2011
YearPercent

1970

26.6

1971

27.5

1972

26.7

1973

26.0

1974

25.4

1975

26.3

1976

26.4

1977

26.1

1978

26.1

1979

26.0

1980

26.7

1981

27.3

1982

28.4

1983

28.8

1984

28.4

1985

28.3

1986

29.0

1987

29.5

1988

29.6

1989

29.9

1990

30.7

1991

31.3

1992

32.4

1993

32.2

1994

31.9

1995

31.9

1996

32.6

1997

32.7

1998

32.8

1999

32.8

2000

33.5

2001

34.4

2002

34.8

2003

35.2

2004

34.9

2005

35.1

2006

35.6

2007

36.0

2008

36.0

2009

37.1

2010

37.6

2011

37.0

These data are from the Current Population Survey. For more information, see Women in the Labor Force: A Databook (PDF), Report 1049, May 2014.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Editor's Desk, Working wives in married-couple families, 1967–2011 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2014/ted_20140602.htm (visited July 22, 2014).

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