Advertisement

Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 556–571 | Cite as

Assessing the Relationship Between Gender, Household Structure, and Net Worth in the United States

  • Michelle Maroto
  • Laura Aylsworth
Original Paper

Abstract

This paper examines wealth disparities by gender and household structure in the United States using data from the 1998–2013 Survey of Consumer Finances. Following studies of economic insecurity, we placed households at the center of our analysis to highlight the interconnected nature of wealth with multiple aspects of family structure. We investigated net worth by both gender and household structure, which includes variation by partnership status and the presence of other adult relatives and their roles within the household. We found that wealth disparities were largest among single adult households, but these varied by gender. Female single adult households held some of the lowest levels of net worth, but after accounting for key explanations of wealth inequality, single male households actually held greater wealth than two-adult partnered households. This relationship further depended on the presence of extended family members, where gender disparities were smaller among households with other relatives present.

Keywords

Household structure Gender Family demography Wealth inequality Economic insecurity 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was partially supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Development Grant (#430-2014-00092).

References

  1. Addo, F. R., & Lichter, D. T. (2013). Marriage, marital history, and black–white wealth differentials among older women. Journal of Marriage and Family, 75(2), 342–362. doi: 10.1111/jomf.12007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bengtson, V. L. (2001). Beyond the nuclear family: The increasing importance of multigenerational bonds. Journal of Marriage and Family, 63(1), 1–16. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2001.00001.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bianchi, S. M., Hotz, V. J., McGarry, K., & Seltzer, J. A. (2007). Intergenerational ties: Alternative theories, empirical findings and trends, and remaining challenges (Report No. CCPR-024-06). Retrieved from California Center for Population Research On-Line Working Paper Series http://escholarship.org/uc/item/1g93v4kk.
  4. Blank, R. (2002). Evaluating welfare reform in the United States. Journal of Economic Literature, 40(4), 1105–1166. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.stable/3217318.
  5. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. (2014). Codebook for the 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances. Research resources: Survey of consumer finances.  Retrieved from http://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/scf/files/codebk2013.txt.
  6. Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J. G. Richardon (Ed.), Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education (pp. 241–258). New York: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bricker, J., Dettling, L. J., Henriques, A., Hsu, J. W., Moore, K. B., Sabelhaus, J., Thompson, J., & Windle, R. A. (2014). Changes in U.S. family finances from 2010 to 2013: Evidence from the Survey of consumer finances. Federal Reserve Bulletin, 100(4), 1–41.Google Scholar
  8. Brown, M., Haughwout, A., Lee, D., & van der Klaauw, W. (2011). Do we know what we owe? A comparison of borrower- and lender-reported consumer debt (Report No. 523). Washington, DC: Federal Reserve Bank of New York Staff Reports.Google Scholar
  9. Budig, M. J., & England, P. 2001. The wage penalty for motherhood. American Sociological Review, 66(2), 204–225. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2657415.
  10. Cancian, M., & Haskins, R. (2014). Changes in family composition: Implications for income, poverty, and public policy. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 654(1), 31–47. doi: 10.1177/0002716214525322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chang, M. L. (2010). Shortchanged: Why women have less wealth and what can be done about it. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chiteji, N. S., & Hamilton, D. (2002). Family connections and the black-white wealth gap among middle-class families. The Review of Black Political Economy, 30, 9–28. doi: 10.1007/BF02808169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cohen, P. N., & Casper, L. M. (2002). In whose home? Multigenerational families in the United States, 1998–2000. Sociological Perspectives, 45(1), 1–20. doi: 10.1525/sop.2002.45.1.1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Danzinger, S. K. (2010). The decline of cash welfare and implications for social policy and poverty. Annual Review of Sociology, 36, 523–545. doi: 10.1146/annurev.soc.012809.102644.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Denton, M., & Boos, L. (2007). The gender wealth gap: Structural and material constraints and implications for later life. Journal of Women and Aging, 19(3–4), 105–120. doi: 10.1300/J074v19n03_08.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. DiPrete, T. A., & Buchmann, C. (2013). The rise of women: The growing gender gap and what it means for American schools. New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  17. Fry, R., & Passel, J. S. (2014). In post-recession era, young adults drive continuing rise in multi-generational living. Washington, D.C.: Pew Research Center’s Social and Demographic Trends Project.Google Scholar
  18. Furstenberg, F. F. (2005). Banking on families: How families generate and distribute social capital. Journal of Marriage and Family, 67(4), 809–821. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2005.00177.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Glick, J. E., & Van Hook, J. (2002). Parents’ coresidence with adult children: Can immigration explain racial and ethnic variation? Journal of Marriage and Family, 64(1), 240–253. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3599791.
  20. Glick, J. E., & Van Hook, J. (2011). Does a house divided stand? Kinship and the continuity of shared living arrangements. Journal of Marriage and Family, 73(5), 1149–1164. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2011.00869.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Goldscheider, F., & Goldscheider, C. (1999). The changing transition to adulthood: Leaving and returning home. Thousand Oakes, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  22. Grinstein-Weiss, M., Wagner, K., & Ssewamala, F. M. (2006). Saving and asset accumulation among low-income families with children in IDAs. Children and Youth Services Review, 28(2), 193–211. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2005.03.005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Grinstein-Weiss, M., Yeo, Y. H., Zhan, M., & Charles, P. (2008). Asset holding and net worth among households with children: Differences by household type. Children and Youth Services Review, 30(1), 62–78. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2007.06.005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Heflin, C. M., & Pattillo, M. (2002). Kin effects on black-white account and home ownership. Sociological Inquiry, 72(2), 220–239. doi: 10.1111/1475-682X.00014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hirschl, T. A., Altobelli, J., & Rank, M. (2003). Does marriage increase the odds of affluence? Exploring the life course probabilities. Journal of Marriage and Family, 65(4), 927–938. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2003.00927.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hodges, M. J., & Budig, M. J. (2010). Who gets the daddy bonus? Organizational hegemonic masculinity and the impact of fatherhood on earnings. Gender and Society, 24(6), 717–745. doi: 10.1177/0891243210386729.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Johnson, N. L. (1949). Systems of frequency curves generated by methods of translation. Biometrika, 36(1/2), 149–176. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2332539.
  28. Kalmijn, M. (2013). The educational gradient in marriage: A comparison of 25 European countries. Demography, 50(4), 1499–1520. doi: 10.1007/s13524-013-0229-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kamo, Y. (2000). Racial and ethnic differences in extended family households. Sociological Perspectives, 43(2), 211–229. doi: 10.2307/1389794.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Keister, L. A. (2000). Wealth in America: Trends in wealth inequality. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Keister, L. A. (2004). Race, family structure, and wealth: The effect of childhood family on adult asset ownership. Sociological Perspectives, 47(2), 161–187. doi: 10.1525/sop.2004.47.2.161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Keister, L. A., & Moller, S. (2000). Wealth inequality in the United States. Annual Review of Sociology, 26, 63–81. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/223437.
  33. Kennickell, A. B., & Woodburn, R. L. (1992). Estimation of household net worth using model-based and design-based weights: Evidence from the 1989 Survey of Consumer Finances. Retrieved from Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Board https://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/scf/files/concentration1989final.pdf.
  34. Killewald, A., & Gough, M. (2013). Does specialization explain marriage penalties and premiums? American Sociological Review, 78(3), 477–502. doi: 10.1177/0003122413484151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ladd, H. F. (1998). Evidence on discrimination in mortgage lending. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 12(2), 41–62. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2646961.
  36. Lauster, N., & Easterbook, A. (2011). No room for new families? A field experiment measuring rental discrimination against same-sex couples and single parents. Social Problems, 58(3), 389–409. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/sp.2011.58.3.389.
  37. Light, A. (2004). Gender differences in the marriage and cohabitation income premium. Demography, 41(2), 263–284. doi: 10.1353/dem.2004.0016.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lupton, J. P., & Smith, J. P. (2003). Marriage, assets, and savings. In S. A. Grossbard-Shechtman (Ed.), Marriage and the economy: Theory and evidence from advanced industrial societies (pp. 129–152). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lusardi, A., & Mitchell, O. S. (2007). Baby boomer retirement security: The roles of planning, financial literacy, and housing wealth. Journal of Monetary Economics, 54(1), 205–224. doi: 10.1016/j.jmoneco.2006.12.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Macmillan, R., & Copher, R. (2005). Families in the life course: Interdependency of roles, role configurations, and pathways. Journal of Marriage and Family, 67(4), 858–879. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2005.00180.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Maroto, M., & Pettinicchio, D. (2014). Disability, structural inequality, and work: The influence of occupational segregation on earnings for people with different disabilities. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 38, 76–92. doi: 10.1016/j.rssm.2014.08.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Maroto, M. L. (2016). Fifteen years of wealth disparities in Canada: New trends or simply the status quo? Canadian Public Policy, 42(2), 152–167. doi: 10.3138/cpp.2015-040.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. McCall, L., & Percheski, C. (2010). Income inequality: New trends and research directions. Annual Review of Sociology, 36, 329–347. doi: 10.1146/annurev.soc.012809.102541.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. McCloud, L., & Dwyer, R. E. (2011). The fragile American: Hardship and financial troubles in the 21st century. The Sociological Quarterly, 52(1), 13–35. doi: 10.1111/j.1533-8525.2010.01197.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Mykyta, L., & Macartney, S. (2011). The effects of recession on household composition: “Doubling up” and economic well-being (SEHSD Working Paper No. 2011-4). Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau.Google Scholar
  46. Nau, M., & Tumin, D. (2012). Wealth transfer receipt and later life wealth. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 30(3), 233–245. doi: 10.1016/j.rssm.2012.01.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. O’Brien, R. L. (2012). Depleting capital? Race, wealth, and informal financial assistance. Social Forces, 91(2), 375–396. doi: 10.1093/sf/sos132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. OECD. (2013). Chapter 7: Analytical models. OECD Guidelines for Micro Statistics on Household Wealth. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/statistics/guidelines-for-micro-statistics-on-household-wealth-9789264194878-en.htm.
  49. Oliver, M., & Shapiro, T. (1997). Black wealth/white wealth: A new perspective of racial inequality. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  50. Ozawa, M. N., & Lee, Y. (2006). The net worth of female-headed households: A comparison to other types of households. Family Relations, 55(1), 132–145. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3729.2006.00362.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Pager, D., & Shepherd, H. (2008). The sociology of discrimination: Racial discrimination in employment, housing, credit, and consumer markets. Annual Review of Sociology, 34, 181–209. doi: 10.1146/annurev.soc.33.040406.131740.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Pence, K. M. (2006). The role of wealth transformations: An application to estimating the effect of tax incentives on saving. The BE Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy, 5(1), 1–24. doi: 10.1515/1538-0645.1430.Google Scholar
  53. Pilkauskas, N. V., Garfinkel, I., & McLanahan, S. S. (2014). The prevalence and economic value of doubling up. Demography, 51(5), 1667–1676. doi: 10.1007/s13524-014-0327-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Portes, A. (1998). Social capital: Its origins and applications in modern sociology. Annual Review of Sociology, 24, 1–24. doi: 10.1146/annurev.soc.24.1.1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Rubin, D. B. (1996). Multiple imputation after 18+ years. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 91(434), 473–489. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2291635.
  56. Rubin, D. B., & Schenker, N. (1986). Multiple imputation for interval estimation from simple random samples with ignorable nonresponse. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 81(394), 366–374. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/2289225.
  57. Ruggles, S. (2007). The decline of intergenerational coresidence in the United States, 1850–2000. American Sociological Review, 72(6), 964–989. doi: 10.1177/000312240707200606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Sarkisian, N., & Gerstel, N. (2004). Explaining the gender gap in help to parents: The importance of employment. Journal of Marriage and Family, 66(2), 431–451. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2004.00030.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Sarkisian, N., & Gerstel, N. (2012). Nuclear family values, Extended family lives: The power of race, class, and gender. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  60. Schmidt, L., & Sevak, P. (2006). Gender, marriage, and asset accumulation in the United States. Feminist Economics, 12(1–2), 139–166. doi: 10.1080/13545700500508445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Schneider, D. (2011). Wealth and the marital divide. American Journal of Sociology, 117(2), 627–667. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/661594.
  62. Schoeni, R. F., & Ross, K. E. (2005). Material assistance from families during the transition to adulthood. In R. A. Settersten Jr., F. F. Furstenberg Jr., & R. G. Rumbaut (Eds.), On the frontier of adulthood (pp. 396–416). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Seltzer, J. A., & Bianchi, S. M. (2013). Demographic change and parent-child relationships in adulthood. Annual Review of Sociology, 39, 275–290. doi: 10.1146/annurev-soc-071312-145602.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Semyonov, M., & Lewin-Epstein, N. (2013). Ways to richness: Determination of household wealth in 16 countries. European Sociological Review, 29(6), 1134–1148. doi: 10.1093/esr/jct001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Shapiro, T. M. (2004). The hidden cost of being African American: How wealth perpetuates inequality. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  66. Spilerman, S. (2000). Wealth and stratification processes. Annual Review of Sociology, 26, 497–524. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/223454.
  67. Swartz, T. T. (2009). Intergenerational family relations in adulthood: Patterns, variations, and implications in the contemporary United States. Annual Review of Sociology, 35, 191–212. doi: 10.1146/annurev.soc.34.040507.134615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Swartz, T. T., Kim, M., Uno, M., Mortimer, J., & O’Brien, K. B. (2011). Safety nets and scaffolds: Parental support in the transition to adulthood. Journal of Marriage and Family, 73(2), 414–429. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2010.00815.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Townsend, N. W. (2002). The package deal: Marriage, work, and fatherhood in men’s lives. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  70. US Census Bureau. (2013). Table FG10: Family groups, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement. Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/data/cps2013FG.html.
  71. Van Rooij, M., Lusardi, A., & Alessie, R. (2011). Financial literacy and stock market participation. Journal of Financial Economics, 101, 449–472. doi: 10.1016/j.jfineco.2011.03.006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Vespa, J., & Painter, M. A. II (2011). Cohabitation history, marriage, and wealth accumulation. Demography, 48(3), 983–1004. doi: 10.1007/s13524-011-0043-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Warren, T., Rowlingson, K., & Whyley, C. (2001). Female finances: Gender wage gaps and gender assets gaps. Work, Employment and Society, 15(3), 465–488. doi: 10.1177/09500170122119110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Western, B., Bloome, D., Sosnaud, B., & Tach, L. (2012). Economic insecurity and social stratification. Annual Review of Sociology, 38, 341–359. doi: 10.1146/annurev-soc-071811-145434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Wiemers, E. E. (2014). The effect of unemployment on household composition and doubling up. Demography, 51(6), 2155–2178. doi: 10.1007/s13524-014-0347-0.Google Scholar
  76. Wolff, E. N. (2002). Inheritance and wealth inequality, 1989–1998. American Economic Review, 92(2), 260–264. doi: 10.1257/000282802320189366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Wolff, E. N. (2014). Household wealth trends in the United States, 1983–2010. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 30(1), 21–43. doi: 10.1093/oxrep/gru001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Wooldridge, J. M. (2009). Introductory econometrics: A modern approach. 4th edition. Cincinnati: South-Western College Publishing.Google Scholar
  79. Xie, Y., Raymo, J. M., Goyette, K., & Thornton, A. (2003). Economic potential and entry into marriage and cohabitation. Demography, 40(2), 351–367. doi: 10.1353/dem.2003.0019.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Yamokoski, A., & Keister, L. A. (2006). The wealth of single women: Marital status and parenthood in the asset accumulation of young baby boomers in the United States. Feminist Economics, 12(1–2), 167–194. doi: 10.1080/13545700500508478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Zagorsky, J. L. (2005). Marriage and divorce’s impact on wealth. Journal of Sociology, 41(4), 406–424. doi: 10.1177/1440783305058478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

Personalised recommendations