Fathers earn more than childless men, idiots have no clue why

CNN Money has posted an article claiming that it “pays” to be a dad (H/T Dalrock):

Men without children earned 40% less than their counterparts with children in 2010, according to a new study by The Graduate Center, City University of New York. And fathers made nearly twice as much as mothers.

If you think about it for a moment it’s not difficult to come up with some reasons why fathers earn more than other men. For example:

  1. Fathers need to earn more than childless men in order to cover the expenses related to raising children (a childless man with 40% lower income may still have more disposable income since he probably has fewer expenses than a father). Fathers therefore have more incentive to try to get a higher paying job (CNN reports “more fathers are in management and professional jobs, while a larger share of childless men are in service, sales and office positions”).
  2. Fathers tend to be older than childless men (they’ve simply had more time to have kids), and older men tend to earn more because they are more established in their jobs, better educated, etc. (even CNN got this one: “Part of reason for the wide differential between dads and non-dads is that fathers tend to be older and more established in their jobs and command higher wages.”*)
  3. Employers, being smarter than your average CNN reporter, understand that fathers are generally more reliable and/or less able to leave their job since they have more to lose if they lose their job or quit (e.g. CNN reports “92% of dads are employed full-time compared to 77% of non-dads, who are more likely to be part-time workers”). Employers aren’t handing over more cash to fathers just because they want to (they actually don’t want to), they’re doing it because the reliability, skills, etc. of the average father is worth the higher pay.
  4. The number 1 quality women look for in a spouse is a steady job, which is, surprisingly, correlated with higher earnings. Number 2 is that the man has similar ideas about having and raising children, so apparently fatherhood is also correlated. Who would’ve thought?!

Nonetheless, the idiot CNN reporter and the author of the study believe

The findings suggest that dads are getting a boost on the job that others aren’t seeing.

“Parenthood is giving advantages to men but not to women,” said Justine Calcagno, a social psychologist and author of the report.

Yes, apparently fathers’ paychecks just magically get a special “boost” and *gasp* there’s that alleged “gender wage gap” too! Well, before we jump to conclusions let’s look more closely at the women:

It may not be that surprising that moms make much less than dads, but mothers still make more overall than childless women. Median personal income among mothers in 2010 was just over $25,000 compared to $20,165 for women without kids.

Many of the same reasons given above for why fathers earn more apply to women: mothers have more incentive to get a higher paying job in order to cover the expenses of raising children, mothers tend to be older, and mothers are generally more reliable since they have more to lose if they lose their job. Indeed, women who merely plan to be mothers seem to display a motivation to work harder and earn a higher income:

However, moms pulled ahead only because they tended to earn a lot more during their early working years.

If mothers earned more during their early working years then this was probably before they started having children, in which case they were no different than the women who eventually remained childless. It would be foolish to assume that mothers somehow received a pay bonus during the time before they even had children since employers couldn’t possibly know which women would go on to have children in the future. Rather, we should give the mothers credit for planning ahead and working hard to earn extra income to support children. In the same way fathers also deserve credit.

It also makes sense that mothers earn less in later working years as they start having children and working less (or not at all). Of course, this is one of the many reasons why the alleged “gender wage gap” is vastly overblown.

Yet the CNN Money reporter and study author were apparently either incapable or unwilling to reason why fathers tend to earn more and mothers tend to earn more in their early working years. The CNN reporter couldn’t even get the basic facts right as the following correction was issued:

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that dads earn 40% more than childless men. In fact, childless men earn 40% less than dads.

CNN evidently did not realize at first that the two statements are not equivalent. These are the idiots you depend on for financial and economic news.

* But did you notice the foolish tautology in that statement? Dads earn more than “non-dads” because they…”command higher wages”. Well, yeah, obviously.


2 thoughts on “Fathers earn more than childless men, idiots have no clue why

    • Given all the spelling and grammar mistakes I’ve seen in news articles (presumably written on computers with spell check) I’m not even sure if we can call journalists experts at journalism. Modern journalists seem to be experts only in over-dramatizing the news and writing click-baiting headlines (which are misleading half the time).

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