Will The Rise In Female College Grads Create Smarter Spinsters?


Today in a Daily Caller op-ed, Kay Hymowitz worries about the consequences of 57% percent of college graduates being female this year. If these women decide to get hitched, will they be willing to “marry down”? She says, “don’t bet on it.”

Hymowitz is quite concerned that modern dudes are all losers. Recently she argued that too many men in their ’20s behave like adolescents, and she just published the book Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys. In the Daily Caller, she writes:

True, over the decades since women have been in the workforce, there has been a significant rise in the number of marriages where women bring home most of the bacon. As of 2007, 22% of wives were earning more than their husbands; that’s an impressive increase since 1970, when the number was only 4%. The percentage of couples where women have more schooling has also grown. Twenty-eight percent of wives have more education than their husbands; that is true of only 19% of husbands. The numbers were almost exactly the reverse in 1970, when 28% of husbands had more education, compared to 20% of wives.

The logical conclusion is that the percentage of women who have more education than their husbands will grow when a generation of more highly-educated women try to find a mate among their male peers (if we’re talking about heterosexual women). But Hymowitz doesn’t think this will be the case because right now it’s most common for women to earn more than their husbands if they both don’t have college degrees. It’s unclear why she thinks this statistic won’t include more educated women in the future, though she does add:

Hypergamy, the term experts use for women marrying up, remains a powerful force in the mating market and explains many contemporary puzzles: Song-Yi and Woody Allen, Callista and Newt Gingrich, and Rula Jebreal and Julian Schnabel, not to mention Carrie and Mr. Big. Remember, 22% of wives may be earning more than their husbands, but 78% are not.

(Carrie and Mr. Big or Woody Allen and Soon-Yi aren’t exactly the most current examples.) Hymowitz also says “homogamy,” the practice of people marrying those with similar educational backgrounds, is on the rise. People want their kids to be smart, so “we probably won’t see a lot more college-educated women walking down the aisle with their plumber.”

These statistics may be true today, but women outnumbering men at college will lead to a change in these numbers unless an unusually large number of educated women decide to remain single. Women “marrying down” doesn’t seem that outlandish, but maybe that’s because I know quite a few couples that fall into the 28% of marriages in which the woman has more education than the man. People may gravitate toward romantic partners with similar backgrounds, but that doesn’t mean it’s unheard of for a woman pursuing an advanced degree to fall in love with a man who didn’t go to college. If you need a random example that doesn’t really prove anything, just look at Johnny and Baby in Dirty Dancing. It’s true that some people are college snobs when it comes to picking a mate, but that doesn’t mean that in the future all college-educated women will demand to see a transcript before the second date.

Will Women Marry Down [Daily Caller]

Earlier: Freaking Out About Men Is Sexist Toward Everybody

Image via olly/Shutterstock

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