Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Myth of Male Decline

Stephanie Coontz has written a good opinion column, "The Myth of Male Decline",  on the recent rush of those oh-my-god-men-are-dying books.  I recommend reading it and also my earlier post on the Hanna Rosin book.

This, for instance, is quite important in Coontz's piece:

Proponents of the “women as the richer sex” scenario often note that in several metropolitan areas, never-married childless women in their 20s now earn more, on average, than their male age-mates. 
But this is because of the demographic anomaly that such areas have exceptionally large percentages of highly educated single white women and young, poorly educated, low-wage Latino men. Earning more than a man with less education is not the same as earning as much as an equally educated man. 
Among never-married, childless 22- to 30-year-old metropolitan-area workers with the same educational credentials, males out-earn females in every category, according to a reanalysis of census data to be presented next month at Boston University by Philip Cohen, a sociologist at the University of Maryland. Similarly, a 2010 Catalyst survey found that female M.B.A.’s were paid an average of $4,600 less than men in starting salaries and continue to be outpaced by men in rank and salary growth throughout their careers, even if they remain childless. 
Among married couples when both partners are employed, wives earned an average of 38.5 percent of family income in 2010. In that year nearly 30 percent of working wives out-earned their working husbands, a huge increase from just 4 percent in 1970. But when we include all married-couple families, not just dual-earner ones, the economic clout of wives looks a lot weaker. 
In only 20 percent of all married-couple families does the wife earn half or more of all family income, according to Professor Cohen, and in 35 percent of marriages, the wife earns less than 10 percent.

The bolds are mine.  This is important, because that earlier study got wings and an ability to carry bombs (to kill all men)  and so on, all the time being a  gender comparison only within single, childless workers without any standardizing for education levels.  Sorta like comparing the earnings of a man without a high school diploma to the earnings of a woman with an MBA, to make the example extreme.

The reanalysis compares like with like, and seems to find that men earn more, on average, in each educational category.  As men earn more among those young workers who are married and/or have children, the overall reading is that young women, as a group,  earn less than young men, as a group, even in metropolitan areas.