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Does Marriage Increase the Odds of Affluence? Exploring the Life Course Probabilities



This study estimates the life course incidence and age pattern of affluence among American couples in comparison to nonmarried, never married, and formerly married men and women. Life course probabilities are computed from a series of life tables built upon 25 years of data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (N= 8,510 25-year-olds; N= 3,481 45-year-olds). Results confirm the notion that marriage enhances the lifetime probability of affluence, and that this advantage varies sharply by gender and by race. The study suggests that the marital advantage for gaining affluence is textured by a financial landscape of gender and race inequality.