Thanks to the researchers at the Economic Policy Institute, we find that Father's Day has become increasingly less happy for a substantial fraction of American men as the decades have passed. Their research shows that men between the ages of 25 and 34 and between 35 and 44 have seen the likelihood that they will earn poverty-level wages increase dramatically since 1979.
Here is a bar graph showing the percentage of American men earning poverty level wages in both 1979 and 2013:
The percentage of men between ages 25 and 34 that are working for poverty level wages has more than doubled from 10.8 percent in 1979 to 26.1 percent in 2013. Think about it, just over one-quarter of men between the ages of 25 and 34 are working for poverty level wages! The situation for slightly older men between the ages of 35 and 44 is somewhat better, however, the percentage of men that are working for poverty level wages has also more than doubled from 7.6 percent in 1979 to 15.4 percent in 2013, still, a significant percentage of all workers. Keeping in mind that traditionally, men have earned more than half of a family's income and that most couples have children before they are in their forties, the situation is rather frightening. With 1 in 6.6 men in their early forties earning poverty level wages in America today, the situation for their children is not particularly a good one. The cycle of poverty will be very difficult to break, particularly given the high cost of post-secondary education.
Just in case you thought that earnings by women were going to bail out American families, here is a graph showing the percentage of women working for poverty level wages in both 1979 and 2013:
While the situation has improved over the decades for women, nearly one-third of women between the ages of 25 and 34 earn poverty-level wages and nearly one-quarter of women between the ages of 35 and 44 earn poverty level wages.
Just in case you were wondering, the poverty level wage in 2013 was $11.49 an hour.
Happy Father's Day!