After years of gains in educational
attainment, employment, and wages, women have increased their rates of both
homeownership and headship (the number who are heads of households). Now the
Urban Institute (UI) says the pandemic may have put those advances at risk. Jung Hyun Choi, Laurie
Goodman, and Jun Zhu write in UI’s Urban Wire blog that 30 years ago a male partner in
married, heterosexual households was generally the main breadwinner and
considered the household head. Then, between 1990 and 2019, as the marriage
rate declined, the share of households headed by single women increased from
17.6 percent to 22.6 percent.
It is also common to see women heading married
two-earner households and those where this is true increased 24.3 percentage
points over that same period to 46.1 percent in 2019. Women head up 52.5
percent of married Black households. Combining these changes, women now head
half of all households, up from 32.5 percent in 1990 and 60 percent of Black

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