Mothers Are the Sole or Primary Provider in Four-in-Ten Households with Children
Mothers Are the Sole or Primary Provider in Four-in-Ten Households with Children; The Public is Conflicted about the Growing Trend
By Wendy Wang, Kim Parker and Paul Taylor
Pew Research Social & Demographics Trends
Public Views on Changing Gender Roles
Married Mothers Who Out-Earn Their Husbands
Rising Share of Single Mothers
Appendix 1: Additional Charts
Appendix 2: Data & Methodology
Appendix 3: Topline Questionnaire
A record 40% of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The share was just 11% in 1960.
These “breadwinner moms” are made up of two very different groups: 5.1 million (37%) are married mothers who have a higher income than their husbands, and 8.6 million (63%) are single mothers.
The income gap between the two groups is quite large. The median total family income of married mothers who earn more than their husbands was nearly $80,000 in 2011, well above the national median of $57,100 for all families with children, and nearly four times the $23,000 median for families led by a single mother.
The groups differ in other ways as well. Compared with all mothers with children under age 18, married mothers who out-earn their husbands are slightly older, disproportionally white and college educated. Single mothers, by contrast, are younger, more likely to be black or Hispanic, and less likely to have a college degree.
The growth of both groups of mothers is tied to women’s increasing presence in the workplace. Women make up almost of half (47%) of the U.S. labor force today, and the employment rate of married mothers with children has increased from 37% in 1968 to 65% in 2011.
The impact the recession may have had on this trend is unclear.4 However, a Pew Research Center survey conducted in November 2012 found that mothers’ views about whether and how much they would like to work had changed significantly since 2007 (before the recession officially began). The share of mothers saying their ideal situation would be to work full time increased from 20% in 2007 to 32% in 2012. And the share saying they would prefer not to work at all fell from 29% to 20%.
A new Pew Research Center survey finds that the public remains of two minds about the gains mothers have made in the workplace–most recognize the clear economic benefits to families, but many voice concerns about the toll that having a working mother may take on children or even marriage. About three-quarters of adults (74%) say the increasing number of women working for pay has made it harder for parents to raise children, and half say that it has made marriages harder to succeed. At the same time, two-thirds say it has made it easier for families to live comfortably.
While the vast majority of Americans (79%) reject the idea that women should return to their traditional roles,5 the new Pew Research survey finds that the public still sees mothers and fathers in a different light when it comes to evaluating the best work-family balance for children.
About half (51%) of survey respondents say that children are better off if a mother is home and doesn’t hold a job, while just 8% say the same about a father.
On the topic of single mothers, most Americans (64%) say that this growing trend is a “big problem”; however, the share who feel this way is down from 71% in 2007. Also, young adults are less concerned than older adults about the trend. About four-in-ten adults under age 30 (42%) view it as a big problem, compared with 65% of those in their 30s and 40s and 74% of adults who are 50 and older.
The public’s opinions about unmarried mothers also differ by party affiliation and race. Republicans (78%) are more likely than Democrats (51%) or independent voters (65%) to say that the growing number of children born to unwed mothers is a big problem. Whites are more likely than non-whites to view it as a big problem (67% vs. 56%). The views of men and women on this issue are the same.
Data for this report are mainly from Pew Research analysis of multiple years of Census Bureau data as well as a recent Pew Research survey conducted by landline and cellular telephone April 25-28, 2013, among a nationally representative sample of 1,003 adults living in the continental United States. More detailed information about the data sources can be found in Appendix 2.
Other Key Findings
Both groups of breadwinner mothers, married and single, have grown in size in the past five decades. Of all households with children younger than 18, the share of married mothers who out-earn their husbands has gone up from 4% in 1960 to 15% in 2011, nearly a fourfold increase. During the same period, the share of families led by a single mother has more than tripled (from 7% to 25%).
The total family income is higher when the mother, not the father, is the primary breadwinner. In 2011, the median family income was nearly $80,000 for couples in which wife is the primary breadwinner, about $2,000 more than it was for couples in which husband is the primary breadwinner, and $10,000 more than for couples in which spouses’ income is the same.
Married mothers are increasingly better educated than their husbands. Even though a majority of spouses have a similar educational background, the share of couples in which the mother has attained a higher education than her spouse has gone up from 7% in 1960 to 23% in 2011. In two-parent families today, 61% have a mother whose education level is similar to her husband’s, 23% have a mother who is better educated than her husband, and 16% have a father who is better educated than his wife.
Most people reject the idea that it is bad for a marriage if a wife out-earns her husband. When asked if they agree or disagree that it is generally better for a marriage if a husband earns more than his wife, some 28% of survey respondents say they agree and 63% disagree. When a similar question was asked in 1997, 40% said they agreed. In the new survey, adults with a high school diploma or less were twice as likely as those with a college degree (35% vs. 18%) to say it is generally better for a marriage if a husband out-earns a wife. There were no significant differences between men and women on this question.
Today’s single mothers are much more likely to be never married than were single mothers in the past. The share of never married mothers among all single mothers has increased from 4% in 1960 to 44% in 2011. During the same period, the share of single mothers who had children from previous marriages has gone down from 82% to 50%.
Never married mothers have a distinctive profile. Compared with single mothers who are divorced, widowed or separated, never married mothers are significantly younger, disproportionally non-white, and have lower education and income. Close to half of never married mothers in 2011 (46%) are ages 30 and younger, six-in-ten are either black (40%) or Hispanic (24%), and nearly half (49%) have a high school education or less. Their median family income was $17, 400 in 2011, the lowest among all families with children.
Based on Pew Research Center analysis of 2011 American Community Survey, the unit of analysis is the household head, single mothers who are not the head of household (e.g., single mothers living with parents) are not included in the count. Similarly, married couples in which neither of the spouses is a household head are not included in the analysis. ↩
The income gap between the two groups remains when using personal income as the measure. The median personal income of married mothers who out-earn their husbands was $50,000 in 2011, compared with $20,000 for single moms. Both personal and family income was self-reported. There is a small difference between the median personal income of single mothers and their family income. It could be due to financial contributions of other adult family members such as a cohabiting partner or a parent. ↩
See Kim Parker and Wendy Wang, “Modern Parenthood: Roles of Moms and Dads Converge as They Balance Work and Family,” Pew Research Center Social & Demographic Trends project, March 14, 2013. ↩
Trend analysis is based on Decennial Census data. There may be fluctuations within each 10-year period which are not reflected in the chart on p.1. ↩
Based on a 2012 Pew Research Center survey. For more details, see “Partisan Polarization Surges in Bush, Obama Years: Trends in American Values 1987-2012,” Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, June 4, 2012
Public Views on Changing Gender Role
The public has mixed views about the changing role of women in the workplace and the impact this has had on family life. Today women make up almost half of the U.S. labor force, and in 2012 nearly as many working-aged women (68%) as men (79%) were in the labor force.6 Most Americans applaud these trends, and very few would favor a return to more traditional gender roles. In a 2012 Pew Research survey, only 18% of all adults agreed that “women should return to their traditional roles in society.” Fully eight-in-ten adults (79%) rejected this idea.7
When it comes to mothers of young children, the public is more conflicted. Relatively few (21%) think the trend toward more mothers of young children working outside the home is a good thing for our society8, and only 16% say having a mother who works full time is the ideal situation for a young child.9
SDT-2013-05-breadwinner-moms-2-1A new Pew Research Center survey, conducted April 25-28, 2013, finds that the public remains of two minds about the gains women have made in the workplace–most recognize the clear economic benefits to families, but at the same time many voice concerns about the toll having a working mother may take on children.
Respondents in the new poll were asked how the increasing number of women working for pay outside the home has affected different dimensions of family life. Fully two-thirds (67%) say this change has made it easier for families to earn enough money to live comfortably. About three-in-ten (28%) say this change has made it harder for families to earn enough, and 2% say it hasn’t made much difference in this regard.
While this trend may be beneficial for family finances, the public thinks having more women in the workplace has not had a positive effect on child rearing and even marriage. Roughly three-quarters of adults (74%) say the increasing number of women working for pay has made it harder for parents to raise children. Only 19% say this has made it easier to raise children, and 2% say it hasn’t made much difference.
Half of all adults say the trend toward more women working has made it harder for marriages to be successful. Only about one-third (35%) say this change has made it easier for marriages to be successful, and 5% say it hasn’t made much difference.
These attitudes have changed somewhat over the past decade and a half. In a survey conducted by the Washington Post, the Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University in 1997, most adults saw the economic benefits of having more women in the workplace: 60% said this trend made it easier for families to earn enough money to live comfortably. That share is even higher today (67%).
SDT-2013-05-breadwinner-moms-2-2Compared with current attitudes, the public had a more negative assessment in 1997 of the effect this trend was having on children and marriage. Fully 82% said having more women working for pay outside the home made it harder for parents to raise children (compared with 74% today), and 67% said this trend made it harder for marriages to be successful (vs. 50% today).
There is no significant gender gap in views about how having more women in the workplace affects marriage and child rearing. However, men are more likely than women to see the economic benefits of this trend.
There are significant differences of opinion across age groups. Young adults (those ages 18-29) are less likely than older adults to see negative consequences from this trend and more likely to see positive effects.
For example, while 78% of those adults ages 30 and older say having more women in the workforce has made it harder for parents to raise children, only 60% of those ages 18-29 agree with this assessment. Similarly, while more than half (54%) of adults ages 30 and older say the rising share of women in the workplace has made it harder for marriages to be successful, only 36% of young adults agree. Not surprisingly, there are also large gaps by age in the incidence levels of marriage and parenting. Among the survey respondents, only about one-quarter (26%) of those ages 18-29 reported having a child under age 18. This compares with 66% of those ages 30-49. Roughly one-in-five (19%) of those under age 30 said they were married, compared with more than half (58%) of those ages 30 and older.
When it comes to earning enough money to live comfortably, young adults (79%) are more likely than those ages 30 and older (64%) to say having more women working outside the home has made this easier to accomplish.
The Rising Share of Single Mothers
When it comes to the rising share of single mothers, the public takes a mostly negative view. About six-in-ten adults (64%) say the growing number of children born to unmarried mothers is a big problem. An additional 19% say this is a small problem, and 13% say this is not a problem at all.
Opinions on this issue have softened somewhat in recent years. In a 2007 Pew Research survey, 71% of adults said the rising share of single mothers was a big problem, and only 8% said it wasn’t a problem at all.10
In the current survey, whites are more likely than non-whites to see this trend as a problem. Some 67% of whites compared with 56% of non-whites say the growing number of children born to unmarried mothers is a big problem.11
Young adults have much different views on this issue than do middle-aged and older adults. Only 42% of those ages 18-29 view the rising share of unmarried mothers as a big problem. By contrast, 65% of those ages 30-49 say this is a big problem, as do 74% of those ages 50 and older. Among young adults, most say this trend is either a small problem (35%) or not a problem at all (19%).
What’s Best for Children?
In 2012, roughly two-thirds (65%) of women with children younger than age 6 were either employed or looking for work. This share is up dramatically from 39% in 1975. While working outside the home is now more the norm than the exception for mothers of young children, the public remains conflicted about this trend. In the new Pew Research poll, 51% of the adults surveyed said children are better off if their mother is home and doesn’t hold a job, while only 34% said children are just as well off if their mother works. An additional 13% of respondents volunteered that it “depends” on the circumstances.
A decade ago, the public felt even more strongly that the best thing for children was to have a mother who stayed home. In a 2003 CBS News/New York Times survey, 61% said children are better off if their mother doesn’t hold a job, while 29% said children were just as well off if their mother worked.
There is a gender gap on this question: 45% of women say children are better off if their mother is at home, and 38% say children are just as well off if their mother works. Among men, 57% say children are better off if their mother is at home, while 29% say they are just as well off if their mother works.
There is an age gap on this question as well. Again, young adults express a different set of views than their older counterparts. Nearly half (46%) of those under age 30 say children are just as well off if their mother works, while 37% say they are better off with a mother who stays home. Among those ages 30 and older, the balance of opinion is just the opposite: 55% say children are better off if their mother is home, and 31% say they are just as well off with a working mother.
The public is not conflicted at all about whether fathers should work or stay home with their children. Fully 76% say children are just as well off if their father works, while only 8% say children are better off if their father is home and doesn’t hold a job. An additional 11% say it depends on the situation.
Views on whether fathers should work or stay at home do not differ by gender or age. Equal shares of men and women (76%) say children are just as well off if their father works. Similarly, 74% of young adults and 77% of those ages 30 and older agree that having a father who works outside the home is not harmful to children.13
What’s Best for Marriage?
These days, in most two-parent households (59%), both the mother and the father work outside the home.14 In a majority of those households, the father has a higher income than the mother, but for a growing share of these couples, the mother out-earns the father.
In the new Pew Research survey, respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed that it’s generally better for a marriage if the husband earns more money than his wife. About three-in-ten adults (28%) said they agree with this statement, while 63% said they disagree. When the same question was asked in 1997, a significantly higher share of adults (40%) agreed that it’s best for a marriage if a husband out-earns his wife, while 58% disagreed.15
In the current poll, similar shares of men (62%) and women (63%) reject the notion that it’s best for a marriage if the husband out-earns his wife. And solid majorities of younger and middle-aged adults express the same view. Adults ages 65 and older are somewhat more conflicted about this. Among that age group, some 37% agree that it’s better for a marriage if the husband earns more money than his wife, and 51% disagree.
College graduates are among the least likely to agree that it’s better for a marriage if the husband out-earns his wife—only 18% support this view. Fully 75% of college graduates disagree with this notion. Among those with a high school diploma or less, roughly one-third (35%) agree that it’s better for a marriage if the husband has a higher income, while 54% disagree.
Based on Pew Research Center tabulations of Bureau of Labor Statistics data. For a more detailed discussion of trends in women in the labor force, see Ibid. “Modern Parenthood: Roles of Moms and Dads Converge as They Balance Work and Family Life.” ↩
See Ibid. “Partisan Polarization Surges in Bush, Obama Years: Trends in American Values 1987-2012.” ↩
See Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends project, “The Decline of Marriage and Rise of New Families,” Nov. 8, 2012. ↩
See Ibid. “Modern Parenthood: Roles of Moms and Dads Converge as They Balance Work and Family Life.” ↩
See Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends project, “Fewer Mothers Prefer Full-time Work: From 1997 to 2007,” July 12, 2007. ↩
Due to limitations in sample sizes, “non-whites” includes Hispanics (regardless of their race). ↩
The question did not specify the age of the children. ↩
The two questions: “Do you think children are better off if their mother is home …” and “Do you think children are better off if their father is home …” were rotated by form in the survey. Half of the sample was asked about mothers first, while the other half was asked about fathers first. The rotation was put in place to avoid having all respondents make a direct comparison between mothers and fathers. The percentages reported here for mothers are based only on Form 1 respondents (who were asked about mothers first), because that form was more comparable to the 2003 CBS News/New York Times trend. The percentages for fathers are based on the full sample, to avoid any bias that might be introduced by question ordering. ↩
Based on Pew Research analysis of American Community Survey 2011. See Appendix 1 for historical data. Some two-parent households are headed by same-sex couples (rather than a mother and a father). The Pew Research Survey does not allow for analysis of same-sex couples, because respondents are not asked about their sexual orientation. ↩
In the 1997 survey, this question was asked in a somewhat different context. The statement was part of a list of items and was asked near the end of long survey with many questions about work, gender and family. Comparisons to the 1997 findings should be made with caution. ↩
Married Mothers Who Out-Earn Their Husbands
Married mothers are more likely than before to be the primary provider in the family. Among married couples with children, the proportion in which the wife’s income tops her husband’s has increased from about 4% in 1960 to 23% in 2011.16 By contrast, the share of couples in which the husband makes more than his wife has fallen about 20 percentage points, from 95% in 1960 to 75% in 2011.17
One factor directly related to mothers’ rising income is their increased employment rate. The share of employed married mothers has increased dramatically since the 1960s, which results in more families with two working parents.18 In 2011, nearly six-in-ten married couples with children had two incomes, up from a quarter in 1960. The share in which the father is the breadwinner and mother is the homemaker, by contrast, has fallen from about 70% in 1960 to 31% in 2011.
Rising education levels among women can also contribute to the increased share of married mothers who out-earn their husbands. Even though most people are married to someone with a similar educational background, the number of couples in which the wife is better educated than her husband has increased. Among all married couples with children in 1960, about 16% had a husband who was better educated than his wife and the opposite was true for 7% of couples. About five decades later, the pattern has flipped: In about 23% of couples, it is the wife who has attained a higher education level than her husband, and among 17% of families the husband is better educated than the wife.19
SDT-2013-05-breadwinner-moms-3-2The higher education of mothers relative to their spouses is correlated with the higher incidence of mothers who out-earn their husbands. In 2011, among couples in which the wife has more education than the husband, 38% of wives have higher income than their husbands. When the spouses have the same education, some 23% of wives make more money than their husbands. And when the husband has higher education, only 14% of mothers make more than their husbands.
Despite the fact that mothers are generally more educated than their husbands today, a majority of fathers still earn more than their wives. The share of couples in which the husband’s income exceeds the wife’s was about 75% in 2011. This in part reflects different employment rates between married parents: about 65% of married mothers were employed in 2011, compared with about 90% of fathers. But it also reflects different earning patterns among men and women. Even in dual income families in which both fathers and mothers are working, 70% of these families consist of fathers who earn more than mothers.20
Characteristics of Married Mothers Who Out-earn their Husbands
Married mothers who out-earn their husbands are a highly educated group. Nearly half (49%) have a college degree or higher. This share is significantly higher than it is among women whose husbands are the primary breadwinners (37%) and among those who make the same level of income as their husbands (39%).
About 65% of married mothers who out-earn their husbands are white; this share is higher than the average of all mothers (60%), but slightly lower than it is among married mothers whose husbands make more (67%).
Married black mothers are more likely to be the primary breadwinner than to be mothers whose husbands have a higher income. The share of black mothers among those who out-earn their husbands is 10%, compared with 6% among couples where the husband is the primary breadwinner.
Compared with married mothers whose income is less than or equal to that of their husbands, mothers who out-earn their husbands are somewhat older. About 14% of them are ages 30 or younger, and a majority (67%) are in their 30s through age 46, an additional 19% are ages 47 to 65. By contrast, about 17% of mothers in the other two groups are ages 30 or younger, and their shares of adult ages 47 to 65 are lower. In addition, children of mothers who out-earn their husbands are slightly older than those in other type of families. The average age of youngest child is 7.6 for mothers who are the primary breadwinner, 7.2 for families in which fathers are the primary breadwinner, and 7.3 for families with both parents equally contributing to the family income.
Among married couples with children, the total family income is highest when the mother, not the father, is the primary provider. In 2011, the median family income is nearly $80,000 for couples in which wife is the primary breadwinner, about $2,000 more than it is for couples in which husband is the primary breadwinner and $10,000 more than it is for couples in which the spouses’ incomes are identical.
This is related to the employment arrangements between the couples. In families where the mother out-earns the father, about seven-in-ten (71%) have two working parents and 22% consist of couples in which the mother is the sole earner of the family. However, when the father out-earns the mother, he is more likely to be the sole breadwinner. In about four-in-ten of these families (41%), only the father is employed, while in 54% of these families, both the mother and the father are employed.
Income and Education among Newlyweds
The rise of married mothers who out-earn their husbands is a part of a broader trend of wives’ increasing economic power relative to their husbands. Today, in nearly one-quarter of married couples with or without children (24%) the wife is the primary breadwinner.21
The share of “breadwinner wives” is even higher among recently married couples. In 2011, three-in-ten newlywed couples consisted of a bride whose income was higher than that of her husband.
Today’s newlywed women are generally better educated than their husbands. In 2011, the wife’s education level was higher than the husband’s in 26% of newlywed couples. In only 16% of couples did the husband’s educational attainment exceed that of his wife. For a majority of newlyweds (57%), the husband and the wife had a similar level of education.
Despite these education gains for women, even among newlywed couples, the most common situation remains for the groom to earn more than the bride (67% of couples fell into this category in 2011).
The unit of analysis is the household head, therefore married couples in which neither spouse is the head of household are not included. For more details, please see Appendix 2. ↩
Total personal income in the census includes each respondent’s total pre-tax personal income or losses from all sources for the previous year. For the American Community Survey, the reference period was the past 12 months. Each person has an income, regardless of his or her employment status. The value of income could be zero or negative. ↩
Employment status in the Census/ACS data is measured for the previous week. For more information on mothers’ employment status, see Ibid. “Modern Parenthood: Roles of Moms and Dads Converge as They Balance Work and Family.” ↩
When comparing education level between fathers and moms, education is measured in three categories: high school or less, some college, and college or more. ↩
One possible reason is that women with young children are more likely to work part time than their partners. Among dual income families, fathers on average spend 42 hours at paid work, while mothers spend 31 hours at paid work. For more information, see Ibid. “Modern Parenthood: Roles of Moms and Dads Converge as They Balance Work and Family.” ↩
An earlier Pew Research Center report showed that among native-born 30- to 44-year-olds in 2007, 22% of husbands had wives whose income was higher than theirs. See Richard Fry and D’Vera Cohn, “Women, Men and the New Economics of Marriage,” Pew Research Center Social & Demographic Trends project, Jan. 19, 2010. ↩
Appendix 1: Additional Charts
Appendix 2: Data & Methodology
Decennial Census and American Community Survey
Analysis of the characteristics of mothers, married couples and newlyweds are based on the most recent American Community Survey (ACS) data (2011). The data set was obtained from the IPUMS-USA database26. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2010.] (http://www.ipums.org/) and constructed by the Pew Research Center.
The analysis of historical trends is based on microdata from the Decennial Censuses of 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990 and 2000 and the American Community Surveys (ACS) of 2010 and 2011. The microdata files were obtained from the IPUMS USA database. Data are a 1% sample of the U.S. population for the five decennial censuses and ACS.
Except for 1960, the data are limited to the head of the household ages 15 and older. The head of household were ages 14 and older in 1960. The spousal information is attached to the household head if that person’s marital status is “married, spouse present.”
The American Community Survey is a household survey developed by the U.S. Census Bureau to replace the long form of decennial census program. It is collected throughout the year using mailed questionnaires, telephone interviews, and visits from Census Bureau field representatives to about 3 million household addresses annually.
Parents with children under age 18: This refers to people who have at least one “own” child under age 18 in the household. “Own” children in the Census Bureau data are biological children, stepchildren or adopted children.
Mothers who are the sole or primary provider (Breadwinner moms): The breadwinner mothers consist of two groups of women with children under age 18: One is married and their income is higher than their husband’s, and the other is single (including women who are never married, divorced, separated, widowed, and married but with spouse absent from the household). Because the information about personal earnings (includes wages or income from own business or farm for the previous year) was not available for samples prior to 1990, the total personal income (INCTOT), instead of total personal earned income (INCEARN), was used to compare the earning power between the husbands and wives. According to the Census Bureau, total personal income (INCTOT) includes each respondent’s total pre-tax personal income or losses from all sources for the previous year.
Married population: The currently married population is selected as individuals whose marital status is “married, spouse present.” The spouse must be present in the data set to ascertain his/her education and income information. In these data sets all married couples consist of a man and a woman. The unit of analysis in this report is the head of the household, the married couples in which neither of the spouses is a household head are not included in this study. The IPUMS database includes linkages of spouse records and supplies “attached variables” that place the value for the spouse’s variable on each record. However, for a married person whose spouse is not in the household (married, spouse absent), the spousal information is not available.
Newly married population: The newly married population is a subset of the currently married population drawn from ACS 2011. Beginning in 2008, the ACS includes questions related to date of marriage. One question asked respondents if they had been married (or divorced or widowed) in the “past 12 months.”27 Those saying they had married are the basis for the analyses of “newlyweds” and “new marriages” in this report.
Race and ethnicity: Unless otherwise noted, the terms “whites,” “blacks,” and “Asians” exclude the non-Hispanic components of their populations.
Weighting: All estimates have been weighted to reflect the actual population.
Public Opinion Survey
The survey findings presented in this report are based on an omnibus survey, conducted April 25 to 28, 2013, with a nationally representative sample of 1,003 adults living in the continental United States. Telephone interviews were conducted by landline (500) and cell phone (503, including 237 without a landline phone). The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI). Interviews were done in English by Princeton Data Source. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
Steven Ruggles, J. Trent Alexander, Katie Genadek, Ronald Goeken, Matthew B. Schroeder and Matthew Sobek. Integrated Public Use Microdata Series: Version 5.0 (Machine-readable database) ↩
Because each year’s ACS is an aggregation of 12 monthly samples, responses to this question cannot be assigned to a specific year or set of months. Thus the marriages are reported as occurring in the “previous year.”