Assessing the Relationship Between Gender, Household Structure, and Net Worth in the United States
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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.
KeywordsHousehold structure Gender Family demography Wealth inequality Economic insecurity
This research was partially supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Development Grant (#430-2014-00092).
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