Women earn more than men in almost a quarter of U.S. households, a huge leap from 50 years ago, when only a handful of women brought home more income, according to a study released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center.
Women are now the leading or solo breadwinners in 40 percent of households, compared with just 11 percent in 1960, according to Census Bureau data analyzed by Pew.
That's both good and bad, depending which part of the ladder you're on: At the top, educated women are catching up with men in the workforce, but on the bottom rungs are more single moms than ever—most of them living near the poverty line.
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"It's a long-term trend since the '60s that the breadwinner moms have gone up," said Wendy Wang, a Pew research associate and the lead author of the report.
Seventy-one percent of husbands are working in households where women make more money than their spouses, and they have a median family income of $80,000, according to 2011 data.
In 1960, only 4 percent of women made more than their husbands; it's now 23 percent. That translates into 5.1 million married "breadwinner moms." Of those making more than their husbands, 49 percent have at least a college degree, 65 percent are white and 67 percent are between the ages of 30 and 50.
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Women, who for generations were not in the workforce in the same numbers as men, are still catching up. The Pew study noted that despite the fact that women are now equally or better educated than their husbands, most men still earn more than their spouses.