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Study: Wives surpass husbands when it comes to education

The end of the MRS degree?

By Kristin Wong Nov 1, 2012 3:18PM
It may once have been traditional for the husband to be the better-educated breadwinner, but that gender role has been challenged seriously. "Marrying up" is steadily becoming a thing of the past, a new study reveals.

Photo: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty ImagesIn an article published last month, researchers found that the number of couples in which the woman has a higher level of education than her male counterpart is growing steadily. Researchers Albert Esteve, Joan Garcia-Roman and Inaki Permanyer led the study, titled "The Gender-Gap Reversal in Education and its Effect on Union Formation: The End of Hypergamy?". They collected data from 138 censuses in 56 countries from 1968 to 2009.

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"Newly released census microdata reveal the nearly worldwide and substantial decline in educational hypergamy (women marrying men with higher educational attainment)…" the study's abstract reveals. It continues:
"Our results show that educational hypergamy is an enduring form of gender inequality in union formation across the countries examined but that it has been decreasing over the last few decades and in some countries has reversed in recent years."

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Basically, fewer women are marrying men who surpass them in terms of education -- and, presumably, how much they earn. In some countries, in fact, it's men who are marrying up.

The researchers found a steep increase in education levels among women in recent years. And that increase also shows that more women than ever are better educated than their husbands. Albert Esteve said of their findings:

"Given this historical inertia, one could consider that the increase in education amongst women would make forming unions more difficult and raise the number of single women. However, what we see is that the composition of couples adapts quite well to these structural changes and that if these changes take place, sooner or later they will have an effect on the marriage market."

Esteve explains that if the trends in education continue, "marrying up" will become completely antiquated. He continued:

"It will be interesting to observe whether this change develops into more equality between men and women in other aspects of their life."

Photo: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images

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Nov 4, 2012 4:03AM
The trend is for self absorbed women in the professional world to focus on their "career," having fun and traveling, going from "relationship" to "relationship."  As the result of having their self-esteem boosted by their parents since birth, they have unreasonably high standards.  Then the biological clock starts ticking once they hit their 30s and they realize all the good men are already married and have kids.  Maybe they are a little overweight or have an annoying voice.  So they get desperate and marry some loser who "works from home," i.e. marginally employed.  They quickly get knocked up and have little miracles of life, then incessantly talk about the little geniuses at work.  Yawn.  The marriages rarely last long and they end up unhappy again.
Nov 3, 2012 7:00AM

 Do people still do the marriage thing? I did that once..no more. Also I am thoroughly convinced that women dont even 'like' us anyway. If you havent been watching tv or hear the news.. Most areout drinking and having sex with each other. Oh Im sorry, to turn the guys on? At any rate it makes no sense..all of it


Nov 3, 2012 3:35AM
In previous generations, a female's worth was achieved and measured by the man she married. Unfortunately, that mindset continues even with today's generation . . . women are told the fairy tale that a man will come along, sweep them off their feet and they will live happily ever after. However, the reality is that true happiness comes from earning a living wage which provides the luxury of choices - the choice whether to marry or not, stay in a job or move on, have children or not, own a home, etc. Women make only 75.5 cents for every dollar that men earn, according to a release by the U.S. Census Bureau. It is positive that more women are furthering their education, but unless it results in an actual increase in personal wealth, we are still second-class citizens compared to men. When you vote on Tuesday, remember which political party is enacting laws and providing a culture that is moving women forward and which party has shown through words and proven through actions that they will legislate women's rights away.
Nov 2, 2012 8:40PM

My Wife makes more than I do, but she has gone to school and has degrees. I didn't have that chance when I was right out of high school. I go to school now, but I guess I married married up.


When it comes down to it who cares. When you get married you decide to share a life not throw it in the other face.

Nov 2, 2012 8:32PM
I hate to sound like some smuck but once you clasify your relationship as "marrying up" or "marrying down" you will likely have problems. Marriage is a partnership...not employment.
Nov 2, 2012 8:27PM

what is a "higher level of education"? It is not the same as making more oney.


Nov 2, 2012 8:21PM

If a woman who makes good, chooses a guy who earns less -- she is going to be in it for the sex,  Idon't think she should marry the guy.  Just go for the ride and make it last for as long as it s enjoyable and it feels like love,  then when it sours end it and don't look back, unless the woman is one of those who thinks she can change him...she needs to be ready for another disappointment



Nov 2, 2012 8:16PM
I don't care whom I marry as long as I love that person...as soon as anyone starts bringing other variables into relationship equation everything fails sooner or later...no matter how much money one or the other side makes...
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