The Impact of Dual Income Families on the Economy

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The Impact of Dual Income Families on the Economy

An important impact of the current economic conditions upon today's American family is that of the dual-income family. Currently many families, my own included, need both partners to provide economic support in order secure quality housing, childcare and living conditions. I intend to examine the conditions that create the need for two income families, the effects, good and bad upon the children of such families, and compare the overall quality of life of the average dual-income family to that of the average single income family.

Today, there are more than 52 million, married families, units, in the United States. The dual-earner family is the most common, with 60% of all married families having both spouses working outside the home. For the group to which I belong, families with children, the rate of two working parents is even higher. Approximately 70% of the 24.7 million two-parent families in the United States report both spouses working either full or part-time outside the home. (Benokraitis, 1996). Additionally, a recently released Census Bureau report ("Fertility of American Women," 9/00) that showed that more mothers, especially mothers of infants, were in the work force in 1998 than ever before (73 percent and 59 percent, respectively).

The labor force participation of mothers has risen steadily since the Census Bureau began collecting data on the topic in 1976, so it is not particularly surprising to me that more women with infants are on the job today than in years past. Living in the suburbs has exposed my wife and I to the realities faced by today's family, that even for most of us in the middle class, the only way to obtain our hopes and dreams is for bot...

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