More Women Are 'Marrying Down'


Women are increasingly marrying dudes who don’t haven’t racked up the same number of degrees, according to the latest research. In fact, it’s now more common than men marrying women with lower levels of education—though only by a hair. This is a first!

That’s according to the latest numbers from Pew (via Time):

Among married women in 2012, 21% had spouses who were less educated than they were—a threefold increase from 1960, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Census data.
The share of couples where the husband’s education exceeds his wife’s increased steadily from 1960 to 1990, but has fallen since then to 20% in 2012.

It is important to note, before the END OF MEN doomsaying begins, that the rates of men and women marrying less-educated partners are neck-and-neck. It’s not like American is suddenly crawling with mortar-board-wearing over-achievers searching high and low for dudes, any dudes, to marry. But the trend does seem to be accelerating as women dominate higher ed:

In 2012, 27% of newlywed women married a spouse whose education level was lower than theirs. By contrast, only 15% of newlywed men married a spouse with less education. Among college educated newlyweds (including those with postgraduate and advanced degrees), nearly four-in-ten women (39%) married a spouse without a college degree, but only 26% of men did so.

Meanwhile, while college grads are more likely to marry each other in what’s called “assortative mating,” there are fewer married couples with similar levels of education overall. It’s more common for both spouses to have college degrees, but far fewer marriages are made of two people who completed high school or less. That number fell from almost 80 percent in 1960 to around 60 percent in 2012.

Here’s the real kick in the pants, though: Just because women are more educated doesn’t mean they’re making more dough. (You knew there was a catch, didn’t you.) According to Pew: “Only 39% of newlywed women who married a spouse with less education out-earned their husband, and a majority of them (58%) made less than their husband.”

*removes degree from wall, opens window, tosses degree out window into snowbank below*

Photo via AP Images.

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