by Terry Jeffery Article
If American politicians wanted to drive down the income of the American people and make this a poorer nation -- and they actually studied the government's own data about who does well financially in the United States -- they would seek to advance policies that discourage traditional family life and child-rearing.
Married couples with children under 18 years of age, according to the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (Table HINC-04), made an average household income of $107,054 in 2013 and a median household income of $85,087.
"A married couple, as defined for census purposes, is a husband and wife enumerated as members of the same household," says the Census Bureau in its list of definitions used in the Current Population Survey.
How do a husband and wife with kids compare to Americans living in other social arrangements?
Well, married couples with no children under 18 had an average household income of $91,870 in 2013 and a median household income of $70,995. That was about 86 percent of the average household income and 83 percent of median household income earned by their married counterparts who did have children under 18.
Unmarried couples with children under 18 had an average household income of $65,337 and a median of $50,031. That was only about 61 percent of the average income and 59 percent of median household income of their married counterparts.
Unmarried couples with no children did only a little bit better, with average household incomes of $76,609 and median household incomes of $62,126. That was only about 72 percent of the average household income and 73 percent of the median household income of married couples with kids.
Nonfamily male householders with no minor children had an average household income of $53,217 and a median of $36,600. That was only about 50 percent of the average household income and 43 percent of the median household income of married couples with kids.
Nonfamily female households with no minor children had an average household income of $39,781 and a median of $26,355. That was only 37 percent of the average household income and 31 percent of the median household income of married couples with children.
Of course, many young unmarried Americans who have no children today will get married and have children in the future.
The Census Bureau data shows that Americans who become part of a married couple follow a higher household income trajectory than those who live alone or in nonfamily households.
According to the bureau's Table HINC-02, married couple families with householders 24 years old or younger have an average household income of $48,275 and a median household income of $41,360. By the time these married couple families are in the 35-to-39 age bracket, their average household income surpasses six figures at $104,696 and their median household income is $83,609.
The median income of married couple families peaks at $94,780 in the 45-to-49 age bracket and the average income peaks at $118,190 in the 50-to-54 age bracket.
According to the Census Bureau married couple families spend their retirement years (65 and over) with average ($74,978) and median ($53,856) household incomes higher than the overall average ($72,641) and median ($51,939) household incomes for all age brackets.
By contrast, the median household income of nonfamily households peaks at $48,269 when the householder is 30 to 34 years old and the average households income of nonfamily households peaks at $61,436 when the householder is in the 25-to-29 age bracket.
Male householders living alone hit a peak median household income of $41,187 when they are 40-to-44 years old and a peak average household income of $57,110 in that same age bracket. That is only about 43 percent of the peak median income ($94,780) of the married couple family and only about 48 percent of the peak average income ($118,190) of the married couple family.
Why do married couples with kids have higher household incomes?
Perhaps it is because they are not primarily driven by greed but something quite the opposite: a willingness to make sacrifices so their children may live better lives.
It is telling that married couples with children tend to end up with higher incomes than people who only need to maintain a household for themselves.
And it is a telling irony that some politicians would like to redistribute wealth from the former type of household to the latter while making fewer people dependent on themselves and their families and more dependent on government.