Terence Jeffrey / Oct. 14, 2015

Why Are Married Couples With Kids Wealthier Than Other Americans?

When the Census Bureau recently released its 2014 data on household income in the United States, the numbers once again pointed to a basic trend that this nation's liberal political and cultural elite has no interest in publicizing. Married people with children generally do better financially than other Americans.

When the Census Bureau recently released its 2014 data on household income in the United States, the numbers once again pointed to a basic trend that this nation’s liberal political and cultural elite has no interest in publicizing.

Married people with children generally do better financially than other Americans.

As previously noted in this column, this was true in 2013. We now know it remained true in 2014. The overall median household income in the United States in 2014 was $53,657.

Female householders in a nonfamily household had a median income of $26,673, according to the Census Bureau’s Table HINC-01. Male householders in a nonfamily household had a median income of $39,181. Unmarried-couple households with children under 18 had a median income of $50,283, according to Table HINC-04, and unmarried-couple households with no children under 18 had a median income of $64,645.

But married-couple households with no children under 18 had a median income of $76,000, and married-couple households with children under 18 had a median income of $87,728.

In deriving its household income numbers, the Census considers a family “a group of two people or more (one of whom is the householder) related by birth, marriage, or adoption and residing together.” An “unmarried couple” household “is composed of two unrelated adults of the opposite sex (one of whom is the householder) who share a housing unit with or without the presence of children under 15 years old.”

A married-couple household is composed of “a husband and wife enumerated as members of the same household.”

Not surprisingly, Americans tend to have higher incomes in middle age than in youth or old age, and married couples tend to follow this trend along a higher income line than other types of households.

The overall median income was $34,605 for householders 24 or younger in 2014, according to the Census Bureau’s Table HINC-02. It peaked at $72,532 for householders 45 to 49, and declined to $28,535 for householders 75 or older.

For female householders living alone at 24 and under, the median income was only $16,992. That rose to a peak of $37,908 for females living alone at 40 to 44, and then fell to $18,237 for females living alone at 75 or older.

For male householders living alone at 24 and under, the median income was $25,303. That rose to a peak of $45,525 for males living alone at 30 to 34 and then fell to $29,514 for males living alone at 75 or older.

Nonfamily households — which consist “of a householder living alone (a one-person household) or where the householder shares the home exclusively with people to whom he/she is not related” — did slightly better.

Their median income when the householder was 24 or younger was $31,018, rose to a peak of $50,929 for householders 30 to 34, and dropped to $19,652 for householders 75 or older.

Yet among married-couple families where the householder was 24 or younger, the median income was $43,815 in 2014. That rose to a peak of $101,434 when the householder was 45 to 49, and declined only to $49,924 when the householder was 75 or older.

The Census Bureau also divided American households into five equal brackets, ranked from lowest to highest, according to their incomes. It then showed (in Table HINC-05) what percentage of each type of household fell into which bracket.

Married-couple families were the most likely to be in the top bracket (32.4 percent were there) and least likely to be in the lowest (7 percent). Among nonfamily households, 35.3 percent were in the bottom bracket and 8.2 percent were in the highest.

A large majority of married-couple families — 58.8 percent — were in the top two brackets. An even larger majority of nonfamily households — 60.8 percent — were in the bottom two brackets.

Why do Americans who maintain traditional families generally do so well compared to other Americans?

Surely, there are many practical reasons. But ultimately, it is the force of love, not greed, that drives them into the top income brackets.

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