Women “Marrying Down” Are Really Marrying Up: More Evidence Of Education Bubble

As the market for education reaches the saturation point, and as the value of education goes down, we would expect those who enjoy the college experience tend to be students in greater numbers than those who don’t enjoy it. Now perhaps you will disagree with me but my impression is that young women like college more than young men. That might be due to the nature of classroom learning and it also might be due to feminist politics dominating campuses so that men feel unwelcome. Perhaps someone can start a discussion in the comments.

But it is a fact that women are attending college more than men do. The result is predictable:

Women “Marrying Down” In Record Numbers

A new survey by the Pew Research Center points out a milestone of sorts: For the first time, the percentage of women marrying a man with a lesser education is greater than the percentage of men marrying a woman with a lesser education. It’s close, 21% vs. 20%, but expect the gap to widen—among newlyweds alone, the figures are 27% vs. 15%. The Los Angeles Times notes that in 1960, only about 7% of women fell into this category, but the number has risen steadily over the years as women have surpassed men in college graduation rates.

The only problem with this story is that many of the women aren’t really “marrying down” by the standard definition of that term as I understand it. “Marrying down” refers to a person marrying someone who is lower on the economic scale. You marry down when your spouse has or makes less money than you have or make.

A majority of these women are still “marrying up”—college education or no college education.

In fact, most women (58%) who had more education than their husbands in 2012 actually earned less money.

But wait! I thought a college education was the key to a successful career. What happened? How can all these women find men who are earning more than them?

Perhaps it is an unfair comparison. After all, the men have been in the work force four years longer. So maybe the men have been able to use that time to gain skills and experience and build from a lower paying job to a better paying one.

But wait (again)! Which is preferable? To spend four years not gaining experience and to pay a lot of money (and typically, to graduate with heavy debts), or to get paid for gaining experience, skills, and knowledge so that you make even more money? Unless these men are a lot older than their wives, it looks like they chose the better path.

So this human interest story is ultimately a story about the education bubble.

student loan bubble