Educated Women Are More Likely to Get Married and Stay Married Than Women With Less Education

A new study has found that women that have at least a bachelor’s degree are more likely to get married and stay married than uneducated women. The study was led by Yue Qian, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of British Colombia. Her research examined spousal pairings and their respective income and educational backgrounds from the 1980 Census and 2008-2012 American Community Surveys. In the 1980s, women were much less likely to earn college degrees, but today, women earn more than 60 percent of all bachelor’s and master’s degrees and 50 percent of all doctoral degrees.

Dr. Qian found that the proportion of marriages in which the husband had a higher level of education than his spouse dropped from 24 percent to 15 percent and marriages in which the wife had more education rose from 22 percent to 29 percent between 1980 and 2012.

Even by 2012, women still tended to marry men that had higher incomes than themselves, despite the fact that their education levels were higher. Dr. Qian’s research showed that women with a high level of education tended to marry men with high incomes. This shows that the male “breadwinner” social norm is still prevalent today. Dr. Qian also found that men were less likely to marry women who have both a higher education and make more money than they do.

Dr. Qian holds a bachelor’s degree in public affairs and population management from Renmin University of China, and master’s degree and Ph.D. both in sociology from Ohio State University.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study


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