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Number of women outearning their husbands rises

US Census Bureau data showed that the number of children living with two parents increased slightly from 2012 to 2015.Shutterstock/Pressmaster

Call it a classic Gisele and Tom.

In the last 15 years, the number of American wives who earn at least $30,000 more than their husbands rose from 6 to 9 percent, according to data released Monday by the US Census Bureau.

The gap is also closing the other way: The number of husbands who earn $30,000 more than their wives fell from 38 percent to 35 percent. Also, the number of couples whose earnings were within $4,999 of each other grew slightly — from 24 percent in 2000 to 25 percent in 2015, according to the census.

"I think that this suggests a move toward finding more equality, but also shows we're still not there," said Jamie Lewis, a statistician in the Census Bureau's Fertility and Family Statistics branch, in an interview with the Globe.


The statistics released Monday come from the Census Bureau's 2015 Current Population Survey's Annual Social and Economic Supplement, which has collected statistics on families and living arrangements for more than 60 years.

The comparisons were of married couples overall and did not account for employment status, Lewis said.

Citing the Census Bureau's 2014 Income and Poverty Report, she said that of all married couples regardless of work situation, wives earned a median of $12,154, or 33 percent, of their husbands' earnings. For those with full-time jobs, women tended to earn a median of $42,069, or 73 percent, of their husbands' pay.

"It's progress, but we're not there yet," Lewis said of the gender pay gap.

She also said it is difficult to predict whether the gap will continue to close between married couples in the future.

"There are so many different things that could impact it — if people decide to marry, who marries whom, and what's going on with the economy at large," Lewis said.


The data released Monday also showed that the number of children living with two parents increased slightly, from 68 percent in 2012 to 69 percent in 2015.

It also showed the median age for adults to marry is continuing to rise: In 2015, the median age to tie the knot was 29 for men and 27 for women — up from 24 and 21, respectively, in 1947, according to the data.

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