Household Income Up But Median Earnings for Men -5.73% Since 1973: Women +33.99%

Real median earnings for men are down 5.73% since 1973. Median earnings for women are up 33.99%.

Inquiring minds are diving into the Census Department report on Income and Poverty in the United States: 2017.

By race, real median household income is rising across the board, as shown in the above chart.

Appearances deceive as the next chart shows.

Battle of the Sexes

Since 1973, the increase in real household increase is entirely (and then some) dependent on the rising earnings of women vs men.

Male and Female Full-Time Worker Earnings

The table data shows 1973 as the peak year for men. I added the blue dotted lines. Here is a portion of the table.

Full-Time Workers

  • 1973 Men: 39,643
  • 1973 Women: 17,574
  • 1973 W/M Ratio: 44.33%
  • 2017 Men: 66,397
  • 2017 Women: 49,308
  • 2017 W/M Ratio: 74.26%

Household income is up not only because women's earnings are up but also because more women are working.

Real Median Earnings 1973 vs 2017 Full-Time Workers

  • Men 1973: $55,317
  • Men 2017: $52,146
  • Women 1973: 31,328
  • Women 2017: $41,977
  • Men: -5.73%
  • Women: +33.99%
  • 1973 Gap: Men +$23,989
  • 2017 Gap: Men +$10,169

Women's wages have not caught men's but the gap is shrinking. Single men, men whose spouse does not work, and male-only households are worse off now than in 1973.

Calculate the CPI with housing prices instead of rent and the stats are even worse.

Grim Stats

Wolf Richter at WolfStreet has nice quintile stats and other charts in his take Census Bureau Reveals Grim Facts about Real Earnings of Men.

The previous two charts showed earnings of full-time workers.

The following charts show all sources of income except capital gains.

18 Years of Income Stagnation

No Income Stagnation at the Top

Who Got the Spoils?

As Richter points out, "This phenomenon of disproportionate income gains at the top doesnt even include capital gains, which would skew the chart into the stratosphere, thanks in part to the Feds QE and zero-interest rate policy"

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (5)
No. 1-5

US voters have been voting for politicians who prioritize capital gains over wage gains for generations. They've received what they voted for. Good and hard.

I'd also be interested in seeing these numbers include corporate healthcare expenditures per employee. I'm betting that if you added that in, the numbers wouldn't look quite so bad. In my mind we've been using corporations to tax employees to radically increase the incomes of the AHA/AMA/Insurance/Pharma types and will continue to do so.


Not surprising. Currently more women attend college than men. Women have taken over many jobs that used to be done by men.


The majority of the wealth AND INCOME of the wealthy comes from asset appreciation and rental income and dividends. If the average American could have had their Social Security invested like the wealthy, instead of being forced to invest in Treasuries that were held so low for so long, we would not have the retirement crisis we have now, which includes white males getting out of the workforce, as well as the drug and suicide epidemics.

Central govt knew their inflation policy, to reduce debt after WWII, would require two incomes, which was the propaganda of the womans lib movement. Woman may have gained the right to work, but they lost the right to stay home and raise kids with good values. The current propaganda of global warming is all about imposing a carbon tax. Pollution is a completely different issue, which is improved by prosperity, but it must be conflated with the changing climate to reinforce the rational ignorance of the establishment, especially the Left.

The root problem primarily lies in govt largess corruption, higher taxes, fees, and civil asset forfeitures that are taking increasing amounts of money out of peoples pockets; an unstable and high corporate tax that makes it difficult for businesses that cant bribe CONgress; and anti-competitive policies bought by big corporations because we have career politicians, which drastically increases the ROI of lobbyist.

Solutions require an accurate understanding of the facts, which govt intentionally obfuscates, or flat out botches out of ignorance and expedience. I encourage everyone to read this little clip from Armstrong today, and search his site for ANYTHING to get the education that will never be provided by the establishment.


1973 is a turbulent year. $55,317 is almost $2k more than earnings a year prior or after. Basically men's median earnings are stuck in the low $50k for over 4 decades. Women's earnings increase can be largely attributed to other factors (e.g. college degrees.)


Even in the third quintile it's tough to see retirement one day. Women took allot of office and health care jobs, they sit around in chairs, health suffering. They wanted it, the single life, the taxes, the expense of not having someone mechanically inclined around the house. For instance, hardly any women will drive truck, do construction, or physically demanding jobs. Some do, not many. The empowerment is good, it helped me stay single, I mean, I'm already a tool to my job, why would I want to be viewed same outside of work. I see how my divorced friends make out and it's not the greatest.