Skip to content

Book Chapter Changing Relationships Ch.13

Marital splits and income changes over the longer term

Authors

Publication date

2008

Summary

What happens to people’s incomes when their or their parents’ marital union dissolves? Virtually all previous analyses of this question - for Britain, the USA, and a large number of European countries - has focused on short-term changes in income, comparing income for the year before the marital split with income for the year after the marital split. These studies have found, almost without exception, that there are large falls in income in the year after a marital split for separating women and children, but not for separating men.
This paper is the first British study to address whether the short-term economic consequences of a marital split have changed over time. Using data from waves 1-14 (survey years 1991-2004) of the British Household Panel Survey, I show that marital splits continue to be associated with short-term declines in income for separating wives and children relative to separating husbands, but the size of the decline has declined over time markedly for women with children, and for dependent children. For the period 1991-1997, the average fall in income for separating mothers between the year before and the year after the marital split was -30%, whereas for the period 1998-2004, the average fall in income for this group was -12%. The corresponding figures for separating husbands were 36% and 31%.
The explanation for why the economic consequences of a marital split are no longer so adverse for women with children appears to be relatively straightforward: employment rates for mothers rose secularly over the 1990s and were given a particular stimulus by the introduction of Working Families Tax Credit in 1998. WFTC both raised the incentives to take a job for workless families with children regardless of the marital status of the parent(s), and made work pay to a greater extent.
I also consider how post-split incomes evolve over the longer-term, tracing the incomes of separating husbands and wives from the year before their marital split through to the fifth year following the marital split. The analysis of these six-year income trajectories suggests that, after their large fall immediately after the marital split, incomes for separating wives do recover but not to their previous levels: five years after a split, incomes remain about 10% below their pre-split levels on average. However women who do not have a job in any of the five years after a marital split, or who do not find a new partner, do much worse than this. Women who remain in paid work or who have a new partner fare best.

Volume and page numbers

217-236 , 217 -236

Subjects

Households, Family Formation And Dissolution, and Income Dynamics

Notes

by Malcolm Brynin and John Ermisch (eds.)


Related publications

  1. Why women hardly ever get caught up in sex scandals

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  2. Why women hardly ever get caught up in sex scandals

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  3. Marital splits and income changes over the longer term

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  4. Marital splits and income changes over the longer term

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  5. Marital splits and income changes over the longer term

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  6. Marital splits and income changes over the longer term

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  7. Middle-aged females suffer most in credit crunch

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  8. Middle-aged females suffer most in credit crunch

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  9. Debt is a feminist issue

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  10. Debt is a feminist issue

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  11. Bankruptcies rising fastest amongst middle-aged women

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  12. Bankruptcies rising fastest amongst middle-aged women

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  13. Bankruptcies rise fastest among middle-aged women: jumps 37% over last year

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  14. Bankruptcies rise fastest among middle-aged women: jumps 37% over last year

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  15. Bankruptcies rise fastest among middle-aged women: jumps 37% over last year

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  16. Bankruptcies rise fastest among middle-aged women: jumps 37% over last year

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  17. Science, love, fidelity and small rodents

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  18. Science, love, fidelity and small rodents

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  19. Can we afford family breakdown?

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  20. Can we afford family breakdown?

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  21. Why feminism favours men

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  22. Why feminism favours men

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  23. Should Jenny Sanford boot the unfaithful guv?

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  24. Should Jenny Sanford boot the unfaithful guv?

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  25. Who 'wins' in a divorce, mom or dad?

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  26. Who 'wins' in a divorce, mom or dad?

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  27. Divorce makes men the richer sex

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  28. Divorce makes men the richer sex

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  29. You can only have it all if you marry into money

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  30. You can only have it all if you marry into money

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  31. Is marrying for money worth it?

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  32. Is marrying for money worth it?

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  33. Rise of the female bankrupt as 60 a day go out of business

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  34. Rise of the female bankrupt as 60 a day go out of business

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  35. The family's essential role: church, society upholding the rights of marriage

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  36. The family's essential role: church, society upholding the rights of marriage

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  37. Til debt us do part

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  38. Til debt us do part

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  39. El coste social del divorcio muestra el papel decisivo del matrimonio

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  40. El coste social del divorcio muestra el papel decisivo del matrimonio

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  41. Church, society upholding the rights of marriage

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  42. Church, society upholding the rights of marriage

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  43. What the economy did to Valentine's Day

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  44. What the economy did to Valentine's Day

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  45. Men benefit from a break-up? That's rich

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  46. Men benefit from a break-up? That's rich

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  47. Divorce makes men richer

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  48. Divorce makes men richer

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  49. Who 'wins' in a divorce, mom or dad?

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  50. Who 'wins' in a divorce, mom or dad?

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  51. To be single again

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  52. To be single again

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  53. Children 'suffering from lack of two-parent family'

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  54. Children 'suffering from lack of two-parent family'

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  55. Men more divorce-wise? Research says splitsville leaves men richer

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  56. Men more divorce-wise? Research says splitsville leaves men richer

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  57. We must brave the rage, and take on won't-pay fathers

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  58. We must brave the rage, and take on won't-pay fathers

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  59. Divorce makes men better off

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  60. Divorce makes men better off

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  61. Divorce makes men better off

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  62. Divorce makes men better off

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  63. Divorce makes men better off

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  64. Divorce makes men better off

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  65. Divorce 'makes women poorer and men richer'

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  66. Divorce 'makes women poorer and men richer'

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  67. Husbands are winners all round: headline news?

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  68. Husbands are winners all round: headline news?

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  69. Divorces see women worse off

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  70. Divorces see women worse off

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  71. Men become richer after divorce: study

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  72. Men become richer after divorce: study

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  73. Divorce makes men richer: study

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  74. Divorce makes men richer: study

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  75. Divorce makes fathers significantly better off

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  76. Divorce makes fathers significantly better off

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  77. Divorce makes men the richer sex

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  78. Divorce makes men the richer sex

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  79. For richer or poorer: why divorce makes men wealthier - but women are left worse off

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  80. For richer or poorer: why divorce makes men wealthier - but women are left worse off

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  81. Divorce makes men richer: study 2

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  82. Divorce makes men richer: study 2

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  83. Divorce makes men the richer sex

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  84. Divorce makes men the richer sex

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  85. Part-time pay penalty for mothers

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  86. Part-time pay penalty for mothers

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  87. Poverty linked to break-ups

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  88. Poverty linked to break-ups

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  89. Research reveals mums lose out after break-ups

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  90. Research reveals mums lose out after break-ups

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  91. Short term loss in income following marital split declines for mothers

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  92. Short term loss in income following marital split declines for mothers

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  93. Single parents' plight

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  94. Single parents' plight

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  95. Children paying the price of divorce

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  96. Children paying the price of divorce

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  97. Mothers' incomes 'dip after split'

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  98. Mothers' incomes 'dip after split'

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  99. Marital splits are still costly for mothers

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  100. Marital splits are still costly for mothers

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  101. Marital splits are still costly for mothers

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  102. Marital splits are still costly for mothers

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  103. Mothers' incomes 'dip after split'

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  104. Mothers' incomes 'dip after split'

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  105. Mothers make faster financial recovery after separation

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  106. Mothers make faster financial recovery after separation

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  107. Our struggle for equality has just become more difficult

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  108. Our struggle for equality has just become more difficult

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  109. Richer, poorer: divorce makes men more moneyed

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  110. Richer, poorer: divorce makes men more moneyed

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  111. Why divorce makes women the poorer sex

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  112. Why divorce makes women the poorer sex

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  113. Men become richer after divorce

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  114. Men become richer after divorce

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  115. Divorce makes men the richer sex

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  116. Divorce makes men the richer sex

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  117. Divorce makes men the richer sex

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  118. Divorce makes men the richer sex

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  119. Divorce makes men the richer sex

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  120. Divorce makes men the richer sex

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  121. Men become richer after divorce: study

    Stephen P. Jenkins

  122. Men become richer after divorce: study

    Stephen P. Jenkins

#511953


Research home

Research home

News

Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author

Podcasts

Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society

Projects

Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs

Events

Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report

Themes

Key research themes and areas of interest