45% of SAHMs are in households earning 75k or more annually (2018 update).

And of that number, 2/3  are still in households earning 100k/yr or more.  Those numbers have been pretty stable over the last decade.  The percentage has gone up because there’s been a further decline in married parents while the total number of SAHMs was essentially unchanged from the earlier data.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2018 Annual Social and Economic Supplement


Married parents and the public school exit.

No matter how many ways you slice the onion, it’s becoming more and more the case that married parents are exiting or very strategically accessing the public school system.  This poses real medium and long term issues regarding funding and support for public school teachers.

What does exit mean?  It means 30%+ of married parents’ kids are outside the public school system or inside it via de facto segregation tactics like specialized, high-parent-participation “options” or outright effective magnets/charters within a larger public school.  About 15% are in private schools, with a steady increase in private Protestant schools specifically (although the general private school split is 45% Catholic, 40% Protestant, and secular bringing up the rump end at around 15%.  The classical Christian academy is maturing away from co-op models to full-time private schools all over the country.  Another approximately 7% are homeschooling full time, typically longer than a year but less than full K-12.  Another 8-10% are doing various combinations of specialized public school programs, homeschooling using the public school curriculum (public-private partnership, “alternative educational approach”, the various names for this make it hard to break out on its own), and mixed schooling (combining several part-time school options).

Homeschooling is completely normalized now as an option to include in the college prep race among the very parents who dominate married parenthood, the college educated majority.  It’s not part of a “fundie fringe”, it’s something a double digit percentage of married parents do for at least one year between K-12.

Also, kids just never stop costing money now, because all these options have costs in time and money.  Either you’re writing checks, one parent is not working full time or outside the home, or both.  The other side of it is that public schools push fringier and fringier views on the remaining children whose parents can’t optimize them into a special program where that stuff doesn’t come up or is cheerfully waivered out.  Where I live, essentially in our version of the higher-end NYC public magnet schools, an example fringy goal is to teach transgender advocacy to kindergarteners in the “regular” public schools.    It’s already approved, implementation is coming in another school year or so.

So even the very liberal parents who might be fine with this in junior high are making plans to do for-pay K or even K-3, on top of 7k/mo mortgages and 1k/mo property taxes to pay 100k salaries to teachers and 150k salaries to administrators who added this stuff to the curriculum.  Exit isn’t cheap, and it’s not getting cheaper, but it is increasing over time anyway.  This is not a stable equilibrium.


Fast facts about married parent income compared to all households (2017 numbers).

Things have changed a bit for 2017, mostly because a bunch of kids aged out and there’s way fewer married households with under-18 kids around.

Less than 9% of all households making under 50k/yr are married with under-18 kids.

About 20% of all households making 50-99k/yr are married with under-18 kids.

About 30% of all households making 100-149k/yr are married with under-18 kids.

About 35% of all households making 150k/yr or more are married with under-18 kids.

Lost percentage at the very bottom and the tippy top.

Source: 2017 ACS data on household income in the past 12 months.

What average salary should men and women be making to get married?

Apparently the answer is “20k more than the woman you plan to wife up”.

The gap between married women and married men’s average earnings is about 20k regardless of actual earnings until men are in their 30s, when married men’s average goes up into 40k more than the married women average through their 30s.

So guys who are married in their early 20s average 30k, but girls married in their early 20s average 10k.  Mid20s, 50k/30k, respectively.  Mid30s, 70k/50k.

Another way to look at it is that single men never boost their earnings out of the range they share with married women (for both single men and married women, average income peaks around 50k/yr through 30s and 40s).  Men who want to marry all start out higher earning, even among men who marry by 20.

So the single guys who remain at each stage of average income are the ones who just aren’t making the financial leaps upward.  Single women have it even worse, they don’t hit that 50k peak until their 50s, and are down in the 40k range through most of their working years, below married women and single men.

One interesting set of interpretations is that married women on average expect married men to be the ones to take income over benefits and generous leave while they expect to not have to choose and thus don’t.  And men who want to marry won’t if they aren’t pretty confident they can decisively earn 60% or more of the household income.

Data reference is from here, covering people who were born in the 1990s as the youngest end of the spectrum.