Men are now “marrying up” more than women, according to a new study.
This term applies to those who marry someone who is better educated and better paid than they are. Two American researchers have found that men are increasingly marrying up as more women earn high level degrees and find jobs that pay very well.
According to their data, highly educated single women outnumber unmarried men with a similar level of education. As a result, women are more likely to marry a man who has fewer qualifications than she does and will consequently earn less than she does.
The lead author was University of Kansas sociology professor ChangHwan Kim. He and Arthur Sakamoto from Texas A&M University analysed education and earnings data of adults between the ages of 35 and 44. They took these figures from the US Censuses in 1990 and 2000 as well as the American Community Survey 2009-11 which was carried out by the Census Bureau.
Kim explained that the “pattern of marriage and its economic consequences have changed over time [as] women [now] are more likely to get married to a less-educated man” than the other way around. This trend has actually led to a faster improvement in the standard of living for these men than for the ones with the same level of education as their wives.
As they see such a benefit, it “could explain why it seems men don’t complain a lot about this”, Kim suggested. Quality of life is more often determined “by family income rather than by personal earnings” he continued, so the wage disparity “seems fine for men because their wife is now bringing more income to the household”.
These findings imply “that the importance of marriage … has increased for men’s total economic well-being” Kim said, adding that the institution “is now becoming more egalitarian and becoming equal” which “is a really good sign”.
The study was published in the academic journal Demography.