Should You Graduate College Before Getting Married?

Statistics show that marriage rates overall are on the decline, and the majority of Black children in the U.S. are raised by single mothers...

By Ryan Velez

Statistics show that marriage rates overall are on the decline, and the majority of Black children in the U.S. are raised by single mothers, but Black Enterprise reports that one group of women are showing less of a decline than others—and a college education seems to be the deciding factor. Interestingly enough, this is a reverse of years ago, where the more educated a woman was, the less likely she was to get married.

The numbers show a massive change in the marriage landscape overall, as in 1960, 87% of 30- to 50-year-old's were married in the U.S., in 2015, only 60.5% were. So, less marriages, but more success for those with education—both Black and white, suggesting that other social trends may not be behind this. Perhaps the presence of an education is helping many of these women make more informed choices about long-term relationships, thinking with heads as well as hearts, for lack of a better phrase. Brookings researchers Richard Reeves and Isabella Sawhill believe that “educated, economically independent women” are now demanding men who are more interested in equitable partnerships.

Equitable, in this case, means a far cry from the concept of men-as-breadwinner and women-as-homemaker that many older generations grew up in. In this case, both parents are educated, both work, and both are deeply involved in the educational and social development of any children.

“In the past, highly educated women faced an unenviable choice between accepting a patriarchal marriage or forgoing marriage and children entirely,” Reeves and Sawhill wrote. “Now they are able to raise their children within a stable marriage without compromising their independence.” In this case, the freedom to have more choices in a path that comes with an education may be extending to how women choose to structure their relationship. Being able to craft a lifestyle fitting to their choices may mean they are happier overall. In something as individualized as a relationship, it’s hard to make generalizations like these, but this is worth considering.

In this U.S., education offers a number of benefits including better health, higher wages, more job opportunities, and more. In addition, marriage is considered a benefit for those looking to have children, with children raised by married parents doing better and are less likely to grow up in poverty. In this case, it looks like no matter your ambitions, an education is something not to miss out on.

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