Marriages in Which the Woman Has More Education, No Longer at Greater Risk for Divorce

crs_forweb_topPrior research found that women who had achieved a higher level of education than their spouse were more likely to get divorced than women who had the same level of education or less education than their husbands. But new research led by Christine R. Schwartz, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, finds that this is no longer the case.

The data shows that 60 percent of couples who married between 2005 and 2009 had a woman who had more education than her husband. The research also found that beginning in the mid-1990s, the divorce rate for couples where the woman had more education than the man no longer had a greater risk of divorce.

“We also found that couples in which both individuals have equal levels of education are now less likely to divorce than those in which husbands have more education than their wives,” said Dr. Schwartz. “These trends are consistent with a shift away from a breadwinner-homemaker model of marriage toward a more egalitarian model of marriage in which women’s status is less threatening to men’s gender identity.”

Professor Schwartz has been on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin since 2006. She is a graduate of Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles. The article was co-authored by Hongyun Han, a research data analyst in the Feinberg School of Medicine’s Health Disparities and Public Policy Program at Northwestern University.

The article, “The Reversal of the Gender Gap in Education and Trends in Marital Dissolution,” was published in the August issue of the American Sociological Review. It may be accessed by clicking here.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study


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  1. Ric says:

    Your headline, in contrast to the title of the paper, suggests that the education level of the woman in the pair was the variable that lead to divorce.

    Imagine if the headline had read “Men Less Threatened by More Educated Women as Spouses”.

    The insecurity of men, not the education level of the women, was the issue. Education level was the data element that illuminated the change.

    Please, let’s stop blaming women.

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