In 1985, the typical male worker needed 30 weeks’ pay to cover the $13,227 required for a family of four’s major living costs: housing, healthcare, transportation, and education. As of 2018, those expenditures had risen to $54,441, and the typical male worker has to work 53 weeks to get there (shown in the chart below). “This is a problem, as there are only 52 weeks in a year,” Oren Cass, the report’s lead author, wrote.
…Cass formulated the index on male earnings because men are historically considered the family breadwinners. His findings for a female breadwinner are even more telling: In 1985, she needed to work 45 weeks to afford the four annual expenses, compared with 66 weeks in 2018.
…The increase in so many disparate costs shows that middle-class Americans carry several financial burdens — they’re behind on homeownership, lagging in retirement savings, and have debt to pay off.