It’s Easier for Men to Marry Up These Days

Men are Marrying Up Easier These Days

It’s getting easier for men to find sugar mamas than for women to find sugar daddies, thanks to the increased number of women who have obtained higher education and therefore increased their personal earnings.

The pendulum has swung, and now the number of college-educated women in the marriage market outpaces that of college-educated men.

Since 1990, the number of women with at least a bachelor’s degree has increased by 39 percent, and their incomes have increased three times faster than men’s incomes. Even women without college degrees saw their incomes increase since 1990. The number of men with at least a bachelor’s degree increased by 10 percent during the same time frame.

Great news for women, right? Not so fast. In an odd twist, women earning more income has had a more significant impact on men’s standard of living than their own, according to a recent University of Kansas study published in Demography. Sociology professors ChangHwan Kim of the University of Kansas, and Arthur Sakamoto of Texas A&M University authored the study.

The primary reason for this is found among men without college degrees. Since 1990, only highly educated men have seen their personal income increase, while men without degrees have seen their incomes remain the same or decrease.

Because there are more college-educated women than men in the marriage pool, the odds are greater that women will marry a man with less education than she has, the study found. And because that population segment has seen incomes stagnate or decrease, men are pulling down women’s standard of living averages.

Researchers defined the standard of living as “equivalized income, which adjusts income for the number of people in a household,” according to an article in Washingtonian. For example, a married couple with one child with both spouses earning a combined $100,000 annually has an equivalized income defined by the researchers of $57,735.

Even though women’s incomes are in the rise, the stagnating or decreasing incomes of husbands without college degrees bring down the family income average.

There was a time when marriage gave women an educational leg up by making it easier for them to return to school and earn a college degree, but the study showed that scenario has declined since 1990.

Study authors used U.S. Census data from 1990 and 2000, as well as the 2009–2011 American Community Survey to review “gender-specific changes in the total financial return to education” among men and women ages 35 to 44.

“For equally educated men and women, men’s equivalized income (standard of living) has increased over time, while women’s equivalized income has increased less than men,” Kim told Washingtonian. “This is because husband’s relative contribution to household income has become smaller over time compared to wife’s contribution.”

The study is an interesting look at how marriage patterns have changed over time. It also marks a shift toward more egalitarian marriages, Kim told New York Daily News.

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