After the dissolution of cohabiting unions, men’s economic standing is only moderately affected whereas women experience a significant decrease in their economic standing--a substantial portion end up in poverty. This income loss is particularly pronounced for African American and Hispanic women with nearly half living below the poverty threshold at the end of a cohabitating relationship. An article published in the latest issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family is one of the first to document the levels and changes in men’s and women’s economic well-being (e.g., personal earnings, household income, income-to-needs, and poverty) after cohabiting couples break up and are no longer living together.
After break-up, a man’s household income dips 10% whereas women lose 33.1%. Post termination of the relationship, however, the men’s poverty level stays around 20%-- reflecting little to no change in the proportion of men in poverty either before or after a cohabitating relationship. The percentage of women living in poverty increases from 20% to almost 30%. "Most broadly, our analyses reveal the greater economic vulnerability of women compared to men," the authors Sarah Avellar and Pamela J. Smock explain. In particular, at the end of a cohabiting relationship almost half of African American and Hispanic women live below the poverty threshold. Thus although cohabiting relationships alleviate some financial hardships, the end of the relationship may be very difficult economically for many.
Jill Yablonski | EurekAlert!
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