American men in their 30s are now worse off than their fathers' generation -- a reversal from just a decade ago, when sons generally were better off than their dads. The median income for a man in his 30s, a good predictor of lifetime earnings, was $35,010 in 2004, a new study says, 12% less than for men in their 30s in 1974 -- their fathers' generation -- when adjusted for inflation. A decade ago, median income for men in their 30s was $32,901, 5% higher than 30 years earlier, the Wall Street Journal says today. One of the study's authors, Isabel Sawhill of the kinda lefty Brookings Institution, isn't sure why men's wages stagnated, though she speculates it may be due to more women entering the labor force.
The study doesn't break out figures for gay men. I wonder whether they're better off than straight guys since gay men are rising higher in corporate life as anti-gay workplace policies disappear. In my case, I'm better off than my father, but mostly because I didn't have kids and my parents have been generous to me. Sparky's way ahead of where his father was because he's held two jobs most of his adult life. [Photo: Construction workers at the RCA Building at Rockefeller Center in New York take a lunch break atop a steel beam 800 feet above ground in 1932. NYT]