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The Wealth Of Single Women: Marital Status And Parenthood In The Asset Accumulation Of Young Baby Boomers In The United States

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  • Alexis Yamokoski
  • Lisa Keister

Abstract

In the United States, household wealth is unequally distributed. While facts about the distribution are readily available, less is known about the family dynamics that underlie this important component of inequality. An increasing number of households are headed by single females (both never married and divorced), and the number of single mothers among these households has grown in recent decades. This article explores differences in wealth in the US by marital status, gender, and parenting status. It focuses on young baby boomers, finding a minimal gender gap in the wealth of never-married people. However, when controlling for parenthood, strong evidence was found of a family gap in household wealth accumulation, with single mothers and fathers economically disadvantaged in comparison to adults without children. Yet, it was fiound that single mothers suffer the most severe economic penalties in household wealth accumulation.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexis Yamokoski & Lisa Keister, 2006. "The Wealth Of Single Women: Marital Status And Parenthood In The Asset Accumulation Of Young Baby Boomers In The United States," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(1-2), pages 167-194.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:12:y:2006:i:1-2:p:167-194
    DOI: 10.1080/13545700500508478
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Schneebaum, Alyssa & Rehm, Miriam & Mader, Katharina & Hollan, Katarina, 2016. "The Gender Wealth Gap Across European Countries," Department of Economics Working Paper Series 5175, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    2. GRABKA Markus & MARCUS Jan & SIERMINSKA Eva, 2013. "Wealth distribution within couples and financial decision making," LISER Working Paper Series 2013-02, LISER.
    3. Smriti Rao & Hazel Malapit, 2015. "Gender, Household Structure and Financial Participation in the United States," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 36(4), pages 606-620, December.
    4. Alexandra Killewald, 2013. "Return to Being Black, Living in the Red: A Race Gap in Wealth That Goes Beyond Social Origins," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(4), pages 1177-1195, August.
    5. repec:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0572-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Markus Grabka & Jan Marcus & Eva Sierminska, 2015. "Wealth distribution within couples," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 459-486, September.
    7. repec:jid:journl:y:2018:v:25:i:1:p:1-43 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Grinstein-Weiss, Michal & Hun Yeo, Yeong & Zhan, Min & Charles, Pajarita, 2008. "Asset holding and net worth among households with children: Differences by household type," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 62-78, January.
    9. Anglade, Boaz & Useche, Pilar & Deere, Carmen Diana, 2017. "Decomposing the Gender Wealth Gap in Ecuador," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 19-31.
    10. Alyssa Schneebaum & Miriam Rehm & Katharina Mader & Patricia Klopf & Katarina Hollan, 2014. "The Gender Wealth Gap in Europe," Department of Economics Working Papers wuwp186, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
    11. Williams Shanks, Trina R. & Robinson, Christine, 2013. "Assets, economic opportunity and toxic stress: A framework for understanding child and educational outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 154-170.
    12. repec:kap:jfamec:v:38:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10834-017-9521-z is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Chatterjee, Swarn & Finke, Michael & Harness, Nathaniel, 2008. "Self-esteem and Individual Wealth," MPRA Paper 20120, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 16 Aug 2008.
    14. Cynthia Sanders & Shirley Porterfield, 2010. "The Ownership Society and Women: Exploring Female Householders’ Ability to Accumulate Assets," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 90-106, March.
    15. Eva Sierminska & Karina Doorley, 2018. "To own or not to own? Household portfolios, demographics and institutions in a cross-national perspective," Journal of Income Distribution, Journal of Income Distribution, vol. 25(1), pages 1-43, March.
    16. Andrea Brandolini & Eva Sierminska & Janet Gornick & Teresa Munzi & Timothy Smeeding, 2006. "Older Women’s Income and Wealth Packages: The Five-Legged Stool in Cross-National Perspective," LWS Working papers 3, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    17. Julia Groiß & Alsyssa Schneebaum & Barbara Schuster, 2017. "Vermögensunterschiede nach Geschlecht in Österreich und Deutschland: Eine Analyse auf der Personenebene," Working Paper Reihe der AK Wien - Materialien zu Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft 168, Kammer für Arbeiter und Angestellte für Wien, Abteilung Wirtschaftswissenschaft und Statistik.
    18. Erin Ruel & Robert Hauser, 2013. "Explaining the Gender Wealth Gap," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(4), pages 1155-1176, August.
    19. Christopher R. Tamborini & Patrick Purcell, 2016. "Women’s Household Preparation for Retirement at Young and Mid-Adulthood: Differences by Children and Marital Status," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 226-241, June.
    20. SIERMINSKA Eva & DOORLEY Karina, 2012. "Decomposing household wealth portfolios across countries: An age-old question?," LISER Working Paper Series 2012-32, LISER.
    21. Jonathan Vespa & Matthew Painter, 2011. "Cohabitation History, Marriage, and Wealth Accumulation," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(3), pages 983-1004, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender; wealth; divorce; marriage; children; parenthood; JEL Codes: D1; D31; G11;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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