Dr. Helen

Do Married Men Make More Money or Do Women Marry Older Men who Make More?

On Drudge, there is a headline that married men make more money that leads to this article at MarketWatch:

Married men sit on the top of the wage ladder.

The wages of married men far surpass those of all of those groups. They exceed $80,000 per year by their peak earning years, while all the other groups barely graze $50,000 per year, according to data from the University of Minnesota and IPUMS-USA, a database of individual responses from the U.S. Census Bureau.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that married men are paid more because they are married (and men), even if it seems like the most logical explanation. “It might be that men with higher wages are more likely to marry,” wrote Guillaume Vandenbroucke, a research officer with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. In other words, correlation does not mean causation.

“Men often marry later than women, so there are relatively few married men in their 20s,” he wrote. “This explains why the difference in wages is less pronounced earlier in life: The average male worker in his 20s is more likely single than married.”

Men who are married make more money to provide for families; women look for men who have good jobs and who earn more money, or at least look for a man with good earning potential. Is it a weeding process or discrimination? I am betting on the former.