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The More Money She Makes, the Higher the Divorce RateRecently, the website Priceonomics dusted off a 10-year-old study on the effects of a wife as contributor to the household income and how that correlates to the likelihood of filing divorce papers.

According to the website, the study, which examined Swedish marriage data, found that divorce risks increased as wives contributed a higher share to total household income.

“We see this most clearly with the lowest, 2nd, and 3rd income quartiles,” the website stated, adding that “the likelihood of divorce is lowest when wives contribute little or nothing income-wise.”

“On the other hand,” the report continued, “the likelihood of divorce is at its highest for all income levels when women are the main breadwinners. When a couple is rich, but the wife is really rich, they are most likely to break up by far.”

Researchers Guiping Li and Andres Vikat explained that one possible reason for this trend was that, “While there’s a considerable financial risk for a stay-at-home wife to get a divorce, a wife who enjoys higher earnings than her husband has a lower economic threshold to leave an unhappy marriage.”

“Money buys you options,” the site concludes, including the option to file for divorce.

Stateside Divorce Rates

In our studies here at (MDP), we’ve found that the Swedish data continues to hold true even across 10 years and an entire ocean. Our data shows that women account for 64 percent of those who file divorce forms, while on average, they earn close to $10,000 more annually than their spouses.

The obvious takeaways here are that:

  1. Men and women continue to struggle with how they think of traditional gender roles. Despite most households throughout the country being two-income, Americans still face tension when it comes to a woman’s role in the workforce.
  2. Higher incomes do afford women more options where none previously existed. By taking the lead as breadwinner, they feel more empowered to leave a situation that isn’t working.

So how about it, readers? As we continue to see a shift in gender roles, do you think that the divorce rate will continue to go up the more involved a woman is in the workforce, or are we just experiencing a phenomenon that will level out in a few more years?

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