According to the Pew Research Center, for the first time in 50 years, women are now “marrying down” educationally and are more educated than their mates.
Based on an analysis of Census date, in 2012 21-percent of women had a less educated spouse—a threefold increase from 1960. This trend signals an abrupt shift in past data, which saw a widening education gap between husbands and wives from 1960 to 1990.
The Pew Research Center breaks down the numbers:
The trend toward wives being more educated than their husbands is even more prevalent among newlyweds, partly because younger women have surpassed men in higher education in the past two decades. In 2012, 27% of newlywed women married a spouse whose education level was lower than theirs. By contrast, only 15% of newlywed men married a spouse with less education. Among college educated newlyweds (including those with postgraduate and advanced degrees), nearly four-in-ten women (39%) married a spouse without a college degree, but only 26% of men did so.
Another important trend has to do with marriages between spouses with similar education levels. Even though college graduates are increasingly more likely to marry each other, the overall share of couples of similar education levels is down from nearly 80% in 1960 to about 60% in 2012.
The main cause of the shift is the decreasing numbers of marriages between spouses with just a high school education, which has fallen from 74-percent of all marriages in 1960 to just 24-percent in 2012.
Despite a change in the education dynamics between many couples, women choosing to “marry down” has not seemed to have had a negative affect on their overall incomes.
When we look at the newlywed women who married someone with less education, we find that a majority of these women actually “married up.” In 2012, only 39% of newlywed women who married a spouse with less education out-earned their husband, and a majority of them (58%) made less than their husband.