According to data published by the Pew Research Center in 2010, the wife now earns more than the husband in 22 percent of married couples, compared with only 4 percent in 1970. And the salary differences can be substantial: The 2010 U.S. Census reports that over 4 percent of wives make at least $30,000 more than their spouses. Once you add to the “wife outearns” group the 25 percent of couples whose incomes are pretty much equal, it’s clear that the guy is now just barely in the majority.
Even a Match.com survey of men ages 26 to 36 found that 87 percent thought it would be “sexy” to date a woman who earned more money than they did. Experts note there’s a new breed of men who not only aren’t threatened by a woman’s larger paycheck but are grateful for it. An increasing number of men are happy being outearned, he says—not only because gender roles are changing but also because of our sluggish economy: Three quarters of those who lost their jobs in 2008 and 2009 were men. “This is not your grandfather’s Depression, because men aren’t the sole providers,” notes Michael Kimmel, a professor of sociology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, whose specialty is the study of masculinity. “So men’s losing their jobs hasn’t been the calamity for the family that it was in 1931.”
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