Economic conditions globally and in the United States have created a need to earn more to make ends meet. American families are facing a growing trend towards needing more than one breadwinner in each household. The causes and effects of this trend have been of concern to researchers and policymakers, as they try to navigate a changing society. Two income households affect many areas of family life. Understanding this trend is important for understanding how to maintain balance in changing times. This essay will explore the causes and effects of the trend towards two income families in the United States. It will support the thesis that two income households result in lower financial stress and are better on the children.

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Expert opinions as to why this trend has developed range from a self-inflicted situation caused by poor money management to external forces. Rising costs set against a backdrop of increasing competition in the job market has resulted in lower wages. Families are facing several financial hardships that they did not face in the past. Another factor that affects the need to become a two-income family is that even though both spouses are working, the wages that each individual earns are lower. This gives the perception of a higher income, but in reality they are not much better off than with one income, particularly when you consider the costs of the other person working. With one spouse working, the family must pay for additional gas, clothing, and child care costs. Overspending is another common cause of the need for a second income. However, having a second income can also lead to overspending because of the perception that there is greater disposable income.

The causes of two-income families are multifactored, but the effect fall into several key areas of concern. The first area of concern regarding two-income families is he effects on the children. The old paradigm was that a woman’s place was in the home. Dual-income families were criticized for their lack of parenting time. However, recent studies have found that low income can also have a significant negative impact on children. Children of low-income families have a statistically higher chance of under education, crime, and substance abuse than those from higher income families. The question is whether a child is better off in a household where the mother is absent and they are in childcare, or whether they are better of in a household with a mother that is stressed about the finances. Children are better off in a household with lower stress, than in one with higher stress levels due to financial strain. Even if they have limited time with both parents when both parents work, the time will be of better quality than if relationships are strained by hardships.

The two-income family has lower stress than single income families. Financial stress is a leading cause of divorce among American families. Dual incomes lower financial stress, thus creating happier families. Preventing stress and divorce is always the better alternative and has the better outcome for all family members. If having a second working parent creates better family stability, then it is better for both families to work. The effects of divorce are devastating on children, regardless of the income level of the family. Children who grow up in two-parent families do better in several areas then children who grow up in single-parent families. The effects of divorce on outcomes for the children has demonstrated a greater impact than not having one parent around all day.

As one can see, the dual income household affects many aspects of the lives of the families. The greatest concern has been for the welfare of the children. The causes of the trend towards two income families are closely linked to economic conditions in the United States and in the world. Financial stress is a key contributor to divorce, which in turn has several negative consequences for the children. Children that grow up in higher income households with lower stress and two parents do better in many areas of their lives than children living in stress and poverty. New evidence does not support the old paradigm that single income families are better for the children. A growing body of evidence and opinion supports the advantages of the dual income family.

This essay supports the thesis that having two parents that work creates a greater chance for success for all members of he family and that a mother working has more positive aspects than negative ones. The greatest need in this respect is a better support network for moms who want to work. Sharing family responsibilities and childcare tops the list of priorities for dual income families. Improving networks for community-based services that support dual income families will provide the greatest impact on making dual income families successful. Regardless of the causes of the trend, the trend does not appear that it will go away. As economic pressures increase, dual income families will need increasing support systems. Starting grassroots organizations to assist dual income families is one way that every can benefit from this growing trend.

    References
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  • Grubman, J., Hollerud, K., & Holland, C. (2013). Motivating and Helping the Overspending Client: A Stages-of=Change Model. Journal of Financial Planning. Retrieved from http://www.fpanet.org/journal/CurrentIssue/TableofContents/MotivatingandHelpingtheOverspendingClient/
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