Women, Marriage and Wealth: The Impact of Marital Status on the Economic Well-Being of Women Through the Life Course

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Women, Marriage and Wealth reveals the impact of women’s marital status on their economic well-being through the life course, especially during the later years. Based on a scrupulous analysis of longitudinal data from the Rand Health and Retirement Data File, along with a thorough review of the literature and interviews with women of every marital status, Dr. Joyce provides clear and concise answers to questions of concern to every woman, such as the following:

• How does a woman’s marital status affect her access to sources of income and, therefore, her economic security and well-being through the life course?
• What happens to the economic security of women as they age?
• Why do formerly married women commonly have less net worth after the loss of a spouse to divorce or death, and can they do anything to counteract the decline?
• Is the impact of a woman’s marital status on her economic well-being affected by factors such as her education, ethnicity, and number of children?
• Why do married women generally have more wealth, net worth, and economic security than divorced, widowed, and never married women?
• What must Congress quickly do to prevent millions of women “Boomers” from sinking into poverty as they enter the later stages of the life course?

Dr. Joyce discusses the answers to these and related questions in terms of a multi-theoretical framework derived from the Life Course, Feminist, and Political Economy of Aging perspectives.

Her findings show that married women generally have the most sources of income, and, therefore, greater income and wealth than divorced, widowed, and never married women. Although single women have the strongest employment histories among the marital status groups, their total household income and wealth is generally less than that of married women, because they lack income and assets from a spouse. And while most divorced women have access to their ex-spouse’s assets, the data presented in this book show that divorce has a serious negative effect on the resources of divorced women, especially as they grow older.

Dr. Joyce discusses the implications of her findings for social policy, which must play a major role to prevent the increasing negative economic consequences for all Americans, especially unmarried older women. Since more women are living longer than ever before, and?as this book clearly shows?the net worth of non-married women declines as they enter old age, government programs are urgently needed to provide economic supports that reduce the risk of poverty among widowed, divorced, and never married women in later life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A comprehensive, credible analysis of the patterns and variations in the likelihood that women will spend their elderly years in poverty”—CHOICE

“A comprehensive, credible analysis of the patterns and variations in the likelihood that women will spend their elderly years in poverty…Joyce makes an accessible case that the economic infrastructure of old age support—including attitudes toward women in their families—must change to reduce the risk of poverty for older widows or divorced and never-married women.”—Recommended. General and undergraduate collections.—L.D. Brush University of Pittsburgh, CHOICE

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781884092688
  • Publisher: Altschuler, Richard & Associates, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/6/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

JOYCE ANN JOYCE, PhD., is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and member of the Gerontology Program at St. Bonaventure University, St. Bonavernture, NY. She received the doctoral degree in Sociology from the Graduate School of the State University of New York at Buffalo. Her main area of interest and research is aging and the life course.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1:Women, Marriage and Wealth: Introduction and Overview
Chapter 2: Research on Women, Marriage and Wealth
Chapter 3: Method for Analyzing Data from the
Rand Health and Retirement Study
Chapter 4: Determinants of the Economic Well-Being Of Women: Findings from the HRS Sample
Chapter 5: Discussion and Conclusions
Appendix 1: The Rand Health & Retirement Study
Appendix 2: Statistical Tables
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