West Virginia Wives are Bringing Home the Bacon

West Virginia wives bring in more of their families' income than wives in all but one other state — according to a recent study as published in the Charleston Gazette. Read

In the Mountain State, women provided 50.1 percent of their families' income, according to the July 29 study from the University of New Hampshire Carsey School of Public Policy. Only Florida, at 50.5 percent, had a higher rate.

The recession of the past several years impacted men's employment far more than women's, with 69 percent of jobs lost being held by men, according to the study. Nationally, employed wives' share of family earnings increased from 44 percent in 2007 to 47 percent in 2009, where it remained through 2012.

Just imagine if these same wives were earning equal-pay-for-equal-work: Our state's median household income would certainly rank much higher than 49th in the nation.

Add to that the fact that many women in West Virginia rarely get the opportunity at better-paying jobs they are qualified for, and the state's ranking would climb even higher.

"Overall nationally — and West Virginia is no outlier here — we've seen a huge change from a goods-producing economy to a service-providing economy," said West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy Executive Director Ted Boettner. "More women are able to get into those jobs — unlike construction, manufacturing, coal mining, natural gas extraction, which tend to be very male-dominated fields, unfortunately."


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