Less Educated Now Less Likely to Marry

Marriage.jpgFor the first time, those without a college education are less likely to be married by the time they reach 30 than those with a college degree, according to the Pew Research Center.

Pew research shows that in 2008, 62 percent of 30-year-old college graduates had tied the knot, as compared with 60 percent of 30-year-olds who did not have a college degree. This reverses a century-old trend of college-educated adults who were less likely to be married by the time they hit 30 than those with no college education.

The Pew study showed that marriage rates for adults in their 20s have declined steadily since 1990 for both groups, but the decline has been steeper for those who did not attend college. And for the first time, the median age of first marriages is the same for both groups: 28. Since 1950, there has always been at least a two-year gap, with those college-educated adults marrying two to three years later than their less-educated counterparts.

The researchers said one explanation would be the decline in annual earnings of single men with only a high school diploma. Their annual earnings have dropped 12 percent, from $36,300 in 1990 to $32,000 in 2008. Annual earnings for college-educated single men rose five percent during the same time period, from $52,300 in 1990 to $55,000 in 2008.

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