A woman who wants to move up the income ladder is getting poorer as her husband’s salary falls.
That trend has intensified as the gap between husbands and wives widens, according to a new report by a New York-based think tank.
In 2012, the median family income for a single woman with children was $33,700, according the National Women’s Law Center, while the median for a couple was $47,200, according data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau.
A family of three earning the median wage of $53,000 would have $3,600 less in their pocket every year than they would if they were single.
It’s not just women.
A woman in her 50s earning $40,000 a year would have an average income of $19,800 less every year if they weren’t single.
“The gender wage gap is widening,” said Nicole Lefkowitz, senior policy analyst at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
“It’s getting wider, and that’s a problem.”
The number of single mothers is up.
A third of women who gave birth in 2014 had been single since age 15, a figure that’s growing by a factor of 2.6, according a survey by the National Center for Health Statistics.
In 2014, 1 in 6 women with children under age 6 was a single mother.
The report, which analyzed Census data on earnings and education from 2012 to 2015, found that the gap is growing even more stark for women who are married.
Women with children make up half of single-mother households, but their share of household income has dropped to 41 percent.
The share of single women in households headed by a husband has also declined, from 33 percent to 25 percent.
According to the report, the widening gender wage-gap is a major factor behind the dramatic increase in single mothers’ share of the nation’s population.
Single mothers make up a larger share of those who are single than men and the population overall, and they account for a larger percentage of the country’s population than they did in the 1990s.
Women who are unmarried also have more children.
Among women ages 15 to 44, the average age at which a child is born, the report found, is 17.8 years, compared to 16.4 for married women.
In a separate study, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning think tank, found the share of women ages 25 to 34 who are parents has grown by 4 percentage points in the last 15 years, and by 2.5 percentage points for women ages 35 to 44.
It’s a troubling trend.
A woman who wanted to move from single to married status in her 40s and 50s, but couldn’t get that far, would have about $7,200 less in her pocket each year if she were single, according Toeppen said.
That’s the equivalent of an annual income of about $50,000, or a family of four.
“We are seeing women and their families making decisions that are much more difficult than they ever have before, in terms of getting ahead,” Toeffen said, noting that there’s been a surge in the number of people who have given up looking for a career or marriage.
But Toeefen also noted that many single women are already struggling to maintain a living.
While it’s not uncommon for a wife to make $40 to $60,000 per year in the U