The share of women raking in half or more of a household’s earnings, meanwhile, has steadily risen
Americans still see men as the breadwinners — even though women increasingly bring home the bacon.
Women in roughly a third of married or cohabiting U.S. couples contribute half or more of household earnings, according to a Pew Research analysis. (The proportion jumped from 13% in 1980 to 25% in 2000 to 31% in 2017.) But society keeps the onus on men: About 71% of adults say being able to financially support a family is very important for a man to be a good husband or partner; just 32% say the same for women.
The gender breakdown of those two stats is almost identical on the importance of men financially providing for their families (72% of men, 71% of women) but 14 points apart on the importance of women as financial providers: While 39% of women say women need to be able to provide in order to be a good partner, just 25% of men do.
The report, based on a national survey of almost 5,000 adults conducted Aug. 8 to 17, also found that the ability to provide for one’s family is less important to people than being caring and compassionate: 86% of adults say those traits are important for a man to be a good husband or partner, and 90% say that of women.
Attitudes on the importance of providing differ along key demographic lines, too, with less-educated adults putting greater weight on that ability in both men and women. Eighty-one percent of adults 25 and up who attended high school or less say it’s important for a man to support financially, compared to 72% of people with some college and 62% of those with a bachelor’s degree. The breakdown on women: 40% of high school grads, 29% with some college and 25% of college degree-holders.
Lower-income adults are likelier than higher-income folks to identify providing for the family as an important quality (41% of people who make less than $30,000 say that of women, in contrast to only 23% of people making at least $75,000). Black and Hispanic people are also more likely than white people to place emphasis on financial support as a favorable quality in a partner.
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