No Wage Growth and our HUGE Increase in Income Inequality Kills American Marriages

That’s right, the chart shows that those reporting their marriage was “very happy” declined 8% over the last 42 years, from 68% to 60%.

Over the same period, income inequality in America has sky-rocketed to the levels seen in third world countries like Uganda, Venezuala, Morocco, Tunisia and Thailand.  We’re less equal than all the EU countries, and even India. (1)

In fact, 80% of Americans earn less now than 44 years ago  in 1972.(2)

All the huge increase wealth in the United States over the last 45 years has gone to the top 20%.  In fact, almost all has gone to top 5%, with the most hoping to the top .01% (3)

Income  inequality in a country is associated with lower happiness.  America’s kind of high income inequality means lower overall happiness for people.  Countries with better income equality tend to be happier. (4)

Higher income is highly associated with being happier in marriage (about as much as is due to your  attachment style and attachment security).  While only about half of lower class Americans report their marriage is very happy,  a full 70% of upper income people describe their marriages as happy. (5)

One result is that lower class people don’t bother getting married.  (6)

     % of People Getting Married, age 18 to 55

25% of poor Americans

39% of working class Americans

56% of upper class Americans

This divide would be much worse except that among the lower classes there is an abundance of working immigrants,  and among the lower working class,  immigrants tend to marry much more often then native-born.   (6)

Even within a relationship, it has become common observation among financial counsellors and therapists that income inequality between the partners often leads to deep resentments and conflict. (7)




(1)  List of countries by income equality, Wikipedia.

(2) “In 1972, so called production and non-supervisory workers – some 80% of the American workforce – earned wages equivalent to $738.86 a week in today’s dollars, after adjusting for inflation, according to an Economic Policy Institute analysis of federal data.   Last year, the average worker bought home $723.67 a week…   44 years have passed (with)… a roughly 2% paycut.”  (Peter Goodman & Jonathan Soble, NYT, Sunday Business, p 6)


Wealth Inequality

(4)T. Tavor, L. D. Gonen, M. Weber, U. Spiegel. (18-08-2017). The Effects of Income Levels and Income Inequalities on Happiness, Journal of Happiness Studies.


(6)  (,  American Enterprise Institute.  SHAREMark as favorite

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