Friday, March 23, 2012

The Mystery of a Successful Marriage

What are the ingredients of a successful marriage? According to a new report from the National Survey of Family Growth, one of the most important ingredients, for women at least, is a college degree. Nothing guarantees a successful (i.e. long-lasting) marriage more than having a bachelor's degree. Take a look at the percentage of women whose first marriage has lasted for 20 years, by educational attainment...

Not a high school graduate: 39%
High school diploma/GED: 41%
Some college, no degree: 49%
Bachelor's degree: 78%

The relationship between educational attainment and marital success is weaker for men, but still important. The percentage of men whose first marriage has lasted for 20 years ranges from a low of 47 percent among men with no more than a high school diploma to a high of 65 percent among men with a bachelor's degree.

The answer to this mystery is obvious, and it has nothing to do with love and everything to do with money. Increasingly, and almost exclusively, economic success accrues to men with a bachelor's degree. Women who graduate from college are far more likely than less-educated women to meet and marry a man with a college degree. Money, and men's ability to earn it, is the most important ingredient of a successful marriage.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, First Marriages in the United States: Data from the 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth

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