You are here: Home - Household Bills - News -

Majority of families still reliant on male-earner

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Eight out of ten parents are reliant on male earnings but there is extremely poor growth in their wages compared to women, a report has found.

A report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) which looked at living standards and poverty rates of working families with children, found that 85% of one-earner couples with kids are reliant on male earnings.

However, median weekly earnings among men with dependent children have risen by only 0.3% per year since 1994, compared with 2.2% for working mothers.

In 2015–16, 86% of children lived with at least one working parent and almost 50% of children lived in a family in which two parents were working.

But the IFS claimed that the risk of poverty is similar for both children being raised in working and non-working families as relative poverty rates for children living in working families has risen over the last 20 years.

It suggested the reason behind this is that worklessness in families with children has fallen significantly over the past two decades.

It said that earnings are still “well below” their levels seen prior to the 2008 recession, increasing the risk that simply having one parent in work is not enough to take families out of poverty.

The report said: “The main reason why the earnings of one-earner couples with children have performed so badly is that these families are typically reliant on male earnings, and male earnings growth has been extremely weak over the last 20 years. A secondary factor is that working fathers in these families have seen even weaker earnings growth than other working fathers since the early 2000s, alongside a relative deterioration in their occupational class.

“Big increases in the proportion of working fathers in one-earner couples who were born abroad, who tend to earn less than similarly qualified workers born in the UK, have reinforced these patterns a little, but the basic stories apply even if looking purely at those born in the UK. Despite family earnings from employment being lower, average net incomes for one-earner couples with children are 24% higher than they were 20 years ago. The primary reason for this is large increases in the amounts of benefits and tax credits paid to low-income working families since the mid-1990s.”

The investigation also found the following:

  • A third of children living in poverty in 2015 were the children of one-earner couples. 43% of children of one-earner couples lived in relative poverty in 2015. This compares with 24% among all children in working families, 33% for children of working lone parents and 11% for children of two-earner couples.
  • Median family earnings (before tax) in one-earner couples with children are 11% lower in real terms than 20 years ago.It is only due to increases in benefits and tax credits that the incomes of these families are any higher than 20 years ago; and since 2002–03 their incomes have not grown at all.
  • Raising living standards and reducing poverty rates among one-earner couples with children could prove challenging.The majority of working parents in these families already work full-time. Turning to non-working partners, only 12% are actively seeking work, and a third have been out of paid work for at least five years. The IFS said increasing the generosity of benefits targeted at one-earner couples would be likely to weaken the financial incentives for the second adult to find paid work.


There are 0 Comment(s)

If you wish to comment without signing in, click your cursor in the top box and tick the 'Sign in as a guest' box at the bottom.

Flight cancelled or delayed? Your rights explained

With no sign of the problems in UK aviation easing over the peak summer period, many will worry whether holida...

Rail strikes: Your travel and refund rights

Thousands of railway workers will strike across three days this week, grinding much of the transport system to...

How your monthly bills could rise as the base rate reaches 1.25%

The Bank of England has raised the base rate to 1.25% as predicted – the fifth consecutive rise in just six ...

What will happen if rates change

How your finances will be impacted by a rise in interest rates.

Regular Savings Calculator

Small regular contributions can build up nicely over time.

Online Savings Calculator

Work out how your online savings can build over time.

DIY investors: 10 common mistakes to avoid

For those without the help and experience of an adviser, here are 10 common DIY investor mistakes to avoid.

Mortgage down-valuations: Tips to avoid pulling out of a house sale

Down-valuations are on the rise. So, what does it mean for home buyers, and what can you do?

Five tips for surviving a bear market mauling

The S&P 500 has slipped into bear market territory and for UK investors, the FTSE 250 is also on the edge. Her...

Money Tips of the Week