People in manual blue collar jobs are now less likely to marry than wealthier people due to financial strains, a study has suggested.
Job insecurity and low wages mean many people in manual work feel they are struggling to meet their own needs and therefore cannot contemplate the commitment of marriage according to the research, based on interviews by researchers at Virginia and Harvard Universities.
Sarah Corse is a sociologist at the University of Virginia. She said: ‘Working-class people with insecure work and few resources, little stability and no ability to plan for a foreseeable future become concerned with their own survival and often become unable to imagine being able to provide materially and emotionally for others.”
“Insecure work changes peoples’ non-work lives. Marriage is becoming a distinctive social institution marking middle-class status.”
Her Harvard colleague Jennifer M Silva said people living in insecure environments had greater difficulty trusting potential partners.
“Marriage has lost its relevance as a marker of adulthood.”
People in middle class positions, by contrast, tend to have greater employment security and so are more likely to able to commit to marriage.
The researchers polled a representative sample of over 300 people in both blue collar and middle class jobs.