Sunday, July 04, 2010
What happened to the male wage in 1987?
The above chart comes from the U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1997. It shows the turning point for men's wages in the United States (you can click on the chart to enlarge it).
If you were a man aged 25 to 34 in 1967, things might have seemed pretty good in terms of wages. The median wage was nearly twice as high compared to your father's generation.
If you were a man aged 25 to 34 in 1977 things were still OK. The median wage for men had barely grown for ten years, but you were still doing appreciably better than your father had done at your age.
But for men aged 25 to 34 in 1987 things weren't so good. The median wage for men had fallen by this time and was actually lower than what the father's generation had earned.
And by 1997 the gap had continued to open up. Now young men were doing appreciably worse than their father's generation.
So if you're an American man and you think that your father may have had it a bit better than you when it came to supporting a family, you might well be right. The days of each generation of men being better off appear to have finished back in 1987.
(Source: here p.29 of PDF, p.19 of document)