The financial and education gap is widening between married and unmarried people
Love, marriage and a college education increasingly go hand-in-hand.
Marriage rates are also more closely linked to socioeconomic status than ever before, according to analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the Pew Research Center, a nonprofit think-tank in Washington, D.C. “In 2015, among adults ages 25 and older, 65% with a four-year college degree were married, compared with 55% of those with some college education and 50% among those with no education beyond high school,” it found. “Twenty-five years earlier, the marriage rate was above 60% for each of these groups.”
Marriage rates also continue to vary widely by race and ethnicity, Pew found. In 2015, 54% of white adults ages 18 and older were married — lower than married Asian couples (61%), but significantly higher than the share of Hispanics (46%) or African-Americans (30%) were married. What’s more, the gap between Caucasians and African-Americans has remained fairly consistent over time, the data revealed. Never-married adults who have not completed college are more likely than college graduates to say they don’t plan on marrying.
Financial security is a big factor. Never-married adults with family incomes under $75,000 are more likely than those with higher incomes to say that “not being financially secure” is a major reason they are not married: 47% of those with incomes less than $30,000 and 40% of those with incomes of $30,000 to $74,999 say the same thing. And just 21% of those with incomes of $75,000 or higher say that. Non-white adults are also more likely than Caucasians to say financial stability is the main reason they have never gotten married (48% versus 33%).
Singletons also look for signs that their potential partner has money. For instance, iPhone owners are 21 times more likely to judge others negatively for having an Android, while those who have an Android are 15 times more likely to judge others negatively for having an iPhone. And those who have older models of either smartphone are 56% less likely to get a date, according to a recent survey of more than 5,500 singletons aged 18 and over by dating site Match.com. One theory: iPhones are more expensive and their owners generally earn more.
But men and women are not necessarily attracted by someone from the same socioeconomic background. Men with higher incomes showed stronger preferences for women with slender bodies, while women with higher incomes preferred men who had a steady income or made similar money, according to this survey of 28,000 heterosexual men and women aged between 18 and 75. It was conducted by researchers at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., and was published in the January 2016 edition of the journal “Personality and Individual Differences.”
And wealthier couples don’t necessarily last longer than those who earn less. Indeed, the more you spend on an engagement ring and wedding ceremony, the shorter the marriage, according to a survey of 3,000 couples released in 2014 by Andrew Francis and Hugo Mialon, professors in the Department of Economics at Emory University in Atlanta. Couples who spend $20,000 on their wedding (excluding the cost of the ring) are 46% more likely than average to get divorced; that risk falls to 29% higher than average for those who spend $10,000 to $20,000.