A recent study released by the Pew Research Center reported that adults are more likely to get married by the age of 30 if they have a bachelor’s degree than young adults that do not obtained one.
“There’s a double whammy going on for the people who aren’t college-educated,” said Richard Fry, from the research center. “They are facing difficult employment, and they are less likely to enter into marriage and receive the economic benefits marriage provides.”
Two decades ago, it was more probable for people without college degrees to wed, Fry said. Married couples without higher education relied on the benefits of marriage to counterbalance their low-income wages.
Recently, the roles have reversed, with the study showing that the percentage of married couples with degrees has just barely surpassed married couples without degrees. In 2008, 62 percent of 30-year-olds that obtained a degree were married or had been married, while only 60 percent of 30-year-olds that did not obtain a degree were married or had been married.
In contrast, in 1990, 69 percent of 30-year-old college grads were married, while 75 percent of 30-year-olds that didn’t graduate college were married, the Pew study found.
What caused the change? Today, marriage means something different than it did 20 years ago. Sharon Sassler, a social demographer professor at Cornell University, said that 20-somethings with college degrees are more likely to cohabitate and marry sooner because they have better financial resources.
“Marriage means something different for the middle class because they have a college degree and better jobs,” Sassler said. “And because now we have expectations on what needs to be in place to be married.”