Men with poor backgrounds ‘more likely than wealthy to be single by middle age’


Men from low-income families are almost twice as likely to be unmarried than those from wealthy families by the time they reach the early 40s, a study has found.

Aside from being likely to be in a highly-paid work or even having any work at all, wealthier men in their early 40s in Britain are also more likely to be living with a partner, according to the study from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

The findings reveal the probability of being in a relationship, and a partner’s income, are becoming more important to family background.

In 2012, about one in three, or 33 percent of men aged 42 from the poorest fifth of families lived without a partner, the analysis discovered – compared with one in seven or 15 percent of their equivalents from rich families living without a partner.

Men from not very wealthy families were more than two times as likely to be seperated compared with those from high-income families, at 11% versus 5% and nearly twice as probable of never getting married, at 36% versus 20%.

Aside from spousal problems, richer men were also more likely to have partners who earn more. The partners of men from richer familied seemed to earn about 73% more than the partners of men from poorer families, the study has revealed.

As women’s income are an getting an important role of a family’s earnings, these significantly lower the family incomes of men who grew up in low-income households compared with those men who grew up in rich families, the IFS stated.

The study says this is considered a “new divide”. Amongst men born 12 years ahead, the disparities in partnership status and partner income by family history were almost unnoticeable, the IFS stated.

In 2012, 42-year-old men with jobs whose parents were amongst the wealthiest fifth of households received on average 88% higher than those from the underprivileged families. In 2000, the difference was just 47%.

Men from low-income families were twice as likely to be out of a job as those from well-off households.

A research economist at the IFS and an author of the paper stated: “Focusing solely on the earnings of men in work understates the importance of family background in determining living standards.

“As well as having higher earnings, those from richer families are more likely to be in work, more likely to have a partner and more likely to have a higher-earning partner than those from less well-off backgrounds.

“And all these inequalities have been widening over time.”

Alison Park, referring to the study, said: “It shows how existing differences in the earnings of men from richer and poorer backgrounds are exacerbated by a new divide, with poorer men in their early 40s being less likely than those from wealthier backgrounds to be living with a partner.”