Marriage Trends

Many remember the old playground song, “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Mary (or any child’s name) with a baby carriage.”  Though in days gone by, this adage may have been true, in recent years the sequence of steps to marriage has been quite different.

Recent research has shown that for many Americans, first comes college, then a good job, a house and a savings account, and then comes marriage.

Experts say that compared to past decades, the number of Americans who are getting married today  has decreased dramatically, and the demographics of those marrying have shifted dramatically, as well.

Those individuals with a college degree in today’s world are the ones more likely to marry and stay married than those people with less education.  These marriage trends, according to some experts, reflect what’s happening in the economy of our country today. 

Susan Brown, a university sociology professor, said, “What we’re seeing with marriage trends today mirrors what’s happening in our broader economy, where we’re seeing diverging fortunes for those at the upper and lower end of the spectrum, with rising inequality.”

Not all agree with Brown, however.  Some experts say that those with higher education with the potential to earn higher incomes look for a spouse who is well educated and thus has the potential to earn a higher income, as well.

Research has shown the more education you have, the better earning potential you have, and the more likely you are to marry and stay married.

Experts have found that not only do higher educated people marry each other, they are also more likely to choose marriage than those of lower education and less income.  The rapid decline of marriage among those with just a high school diploma experts believe is because less educated people feel marriage is out of their reach because their lack of education leads to lower paying jobs which makes it difficult meet the higher standards of marriage today. 

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