The Phaserl


The two-income trap for Americans

How dual income households are a financial necessity in a time when the median per capita wage is $27,000.


Recent Social Security data released this month revealed that income disparity is only growing in the United States.  The released figures show that the median per capita wage in the US is $27,519.  Given the costs for college, healthcare, and housing many households are simply falling out of the middle class.  The two income household is now the common default for Americans.  However, in many cases the two income household has arisen primarily for economic necessity.  Many households today simply cannot get by on one income earner.  Especially if a family has children, childcare is expensive and a good portion of any additional income is diverted into this expense.  The decline of the middle class household would be more dramatic if it were not for the emergence of the dual income household.  Given demographic trends, it appears that we have peaked in this category and many young Americans have no choice but to live in households with multiple streams of income.  Many Americans learn the hard way that the two income household may actually be a trap.

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