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Pew Releases New Data on Marriage in America

Pew Data on Marriage
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The Pew Research Center recently reviewed U.S. Census Bureau data and made an interesting discovery: The better educated you are, the more likely you are to tie the knot.

In 2015, 65 percent of American adults ages 25 and older with bachelor’s degrees were married, compared with 55 percent of those with some college education and 50 percent among those with only a high school diploma, according to Pew. The marriage rate was above 60 percent for each of these groups 25 years ago.

There’s good financial news behind being married and well-educated. A couple’s economic viability increases when they’re married, according to a 2014 study cited in a FOX Business article. Higher marriage rates also are associated with increased economic success and lower violent crime rates at the state level.

College also offers marital benefits for women, according to Pew data published in 2015. College-educated women have an almost eight-in-ten chance of still being married after 20 years.

Approximately 78 percent of college-educated women who married for the first time between 2006 and 2010 could expect their marriages to last at least 20 years, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The marriages of women who have a high school diploma or less are only 40 percent as likely to reach their 20th wedding anniversary.

There was a time when marriage knew no class boundaries. Everyone did it. That isn’t the case today. In 2008, the marriage rate among college-educated 30-year-olds outpaced those without college degrees for the first time, according to the Brookings Institution.

Researchers identified a stark disparity in marriage rates among less-educated women between the ages of 40 and 45. In 1968, about 80 percent of women who did not finish high school were married. By 2014, that number had dropped to below 60 percent.

The benefits of waiting until they are older to marry can be seen in college-educated women’s earning potential, according to a 2013 report from the University of Virginia’s National Marriage Project. Women who marry later earn larger annual salaries than women who marry young.

“The average annual personal income for college-educated women in their mid-30s who married after age 30 is $50,415, compared with $32,263 for college-educated women of the same age who married before age 20–a 56 percent difference,” according to an article in The Atlantic.

So what is the takeaway for women? Perhaps it’s this: Get your education, and then take your time finding Mr. Right.

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Family Attorney John N. Griffith, CFLS

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Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.

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