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This study uses the 2003-2004 Consumer Expenditure Survey to assess costs incurred by dual-income, married-couple households. It finds that, compared to one-earner households with equal income and similar demographics, dual-earner households pay significantly more in tax, social security and private pension contributions but, except for families with pre-school children, do not have more work-related expenditures. The findings indicate a convergence of consumption patterns between one-earner and two-earner households. They also indicate that dual-earner households save more for retirement through pension plans.

This paper series was made possible by the NIA funded RAND Center for the Study of Aging and the NICHD funded RAND Population Research Center.

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