Gay couples earn more than hetero-, lesbian couples; hetero men top earners

Men earn more than women in the Netherlands, no matter the sexual orientation. Of all registered cohabiting couples in the country, gay couples earn the most. The primary income - joint income from work or enterprise - of hetero couples is in second place, followed by the primary income of lesbian couples in a close third, according to a Statistics Netherlands analysis.

Two cohabiting men earn on average nearly 108 thousand euros a year. A hetero couple's average annual income is 92 thousand euros, and a lesbian couple earns an average of 91 thousand euros a year. The stats office looked at the incomes of couples who got married or registered as cohabiting after 2001 - when gay marriage became legal in the Netherlands - and who are both under the state pension age. 

When looking at the individuals within these couples, men on average earn more than women. Hetero men have the highest average annual income at 64 thousand euros, hetero women the lowest at 36 thousand euros. Gay men earn an average of 58 thousand euros a year, gay women 49 thousand euros a year. 

No adjustments were made for differences in education, age, origin or number of hours worked in the above incomes. The gay men and -women in this study were on average older and higher educated than their hetero counterparts. After correction for age, education and origin, the wage gap between straight and gay men increased to 10 thousand euros, while that between gay and straight women decreased to 9 thousand euros. If hours worked is also taken into account, gay men still earn 3 thousand euros less than hetero men. But hetero women then earn more (1 thousand euros) than gay women.

Within both gay and straight couples, there is often an unequal distribution of income in the couple, with one partner earning significantly more than the other. This is the case fore 59 percent of male-female couples, 50 percent of male-male couples, and 44 percent of female-female couples. Among heterosexual couples, the man is the most earning partner in 86 percent of cases.

The unequal distribution of income is mainly due to one partner working more hours than the other. Men who work more than their partner work an average of 1,700 hours and women who work more than their partners work 1,600 hours. For the partner that works the least hours in the couple, gay men work an average of 1,200 hours, straight men and lesbian women 1,100 hours, and straight women 900 hours.