Nearly one-third of wives earn more than their husbands, according to a new Statistics Canada study. The wife was the primary breadwinner in nearly 1.4 million of the 4.7 million dual-earner couples in 2003.
Twenty-nine per cent of women earned more than their husbands in 2003, nearly triple the proportion in 1967 when 11 per cent of wives earned more than their partners, according the study
Wives as primary breadwinners
However, there's still a wage disparity between high-earning women and men. Women who were the primary breadwinners earned nearly double what their husbands did, but they still earned less than husbands who were the primary breadwinners in other dual income households — $41,200 compared to $57,800.
The household income where the wife is the primary breadwinner was also lower than that where the husband is the primary breadwinner: $74,000 compared to $86,000.
What does a primary earner wife look like? According to Statistics Canada, she tends to be more educated than other working wives and primary earner husbands. Thirty per cent had a university degree, compared with 21 per cent of secondary-earner wives and 25 per cent of primary-earner husbands.
Primary-earner wives also tend to be slightly older than secondary-earner wives.