Introduction: This study examines the relationship between parenthood and personal income by sex in the United States between 1990 and 2010.
Methods: Data on Latinos and other racial/ethnic groups were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, reorganized for public use by the Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota, IPUMSusa. Cases in the dataset were weighted and analyzed to produce population estimates.
Results: The data analyzed in this report indicate three key trends. First, women who were parents had substantially lower median personal incomes than men who were parents. Second, men who were parents earned markedly higher personal incomes than all women, but also men without children. Third, of the social, economic, and demographic factors examined in this report the principal determining factor which may be used to understand these disparities was the number of hours worked per week. Among the total population in the United States, women who were parents earned 59% less than men who were parents in 1990. This declined to 49% in 2010. Among the employed population in the United States, women who were parents earned 40% less than men who were parents in 2010, a decline from a 53% difference in 1990. This suggests that women who were parents experienced a substantial ‘mommy tax’ on their personal incomes when compared to the personal income levels of men who were parents over the twenty year period considered in this report
Discussion: An overall sex disparity between men and women in personal incomes has endured for the past two decades. By 2010, employed women earned 28% less than employed men, a decline from a 42% difference in 1990. It is likely that income disparities were due, at least in part, to the well-known fact that women have historically been paid lower salaries than men.
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