The Heart Beat The Heart Beat blog

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.

Related: How to determine if he's marriage material

"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."

Related: How to get the ring you want

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

Subscribe to The Heart Beat

Bing: Learn more about the salary gap among men and women.

More Sex & Love on MSN Living:
50 Dating Dos and Don'ts
Sweet, Fun and Cheap Date Ideas
The Dos and Don'ts of Dating More Than One Guy at a Time
24 Secrets of Successful Daters


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...
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

love: friendships, dating, sex & marriage

  • A new study on attraction may help explain why fashions change. AFP Photo, ©Serg Zastavkin, shutterstock.com // A new study on attraction may help explain why fashions change. AFP Photo, ©Serg Zastavkin, shutterstock.com (A new study on attraction may help explain why fashions change. AFP Photo, ©Serg Zastavkin, shutterstock.com)

    Being the odd one out may make you more attractive

    A new study on attraction may help explain why fashions change.

  • The Viceroy Anguilla

    Great getaways for a spring-summer honeymoon

    As a general rule, any island that offers great weather year-round is going to attract the most visitors in the winter (high season) when we’re all trying to escape the snow. Once summer rolls around, many islands see a sharp drop-off in tourism since many people have beach weather right in their own backyards.

  • Getty Images

    The top 10 complaints from unhappy husbands

    And how you can attack the issues together.

  • 25 wedding photo bombs

    25 wedding photo bombs

    A wedding is an exceptionally special day. Sometimes, an opportune photo flub makes the occasion even more memorable. Here are 25 awesome wedding photo bombs.

  • He takes you on nondrinking dates.

    7 signs he’s getting serious about you

    Somewhere between the first few butterfly-inducing dates and the committed-for-life stage, there’s the period of wondering if you’re both on the same page about how serious you feel about a future together. If you’re not quite at the point of "that talk" but you’re looking for a few clues you’re heading in that direction, here are some signs he’s in it for the long haul as your relationship progresses.

  • 'Have you tried online dating?'

    15 things single people are tired of hearing

    What’s that sound? It’s white noise blocking out the well-meaning person proclaiming groundbreaking news about where you can meet someone, asking why you’re still single, or bugging you about when you’re getting married already. Don’t be that person. Here are 15 annoying things all single people don’t want to hear.

  • 1. New Hair Color

    11 things to avoid the week before your wedding

    With just a few days left before the big day, you already have a mile-long checklist of to-dos—now meet the don’ts! From impromptu skin treatments to all-night movie marathons, here are 11 things to avoid at all costs.

  • 'It’s a Wonderful Life'

    13 movie romances we can learn from

    A new study shows that watching and discussing romantic films can drastically reduce your chance of divorce. These flicks more than fit the bill.

  • About you and someone else

    10 things he’ll never forget you said

    These seemingly innocent phrases still have the power to wound… big time.

  • He or she is the first one you want to tell

    6 signs your marriage will last a lifetime

    Making "I do" last forever is one of the biggest challenges you'll ever face—and it's normal to worry about how you'll do it. But, if your connection involves any of these things, rest assured that you're in it for the long run.

  • Simone Becchetti, Getty Images // Simone Becchetti, Getty Images (Simone Becchetti, Getty Images)

    Can you stay together after a marital affair?

    Ultimately, as hard as it may seem at the beginning, a marital affair can be a turning point.

  • Biltmore/"Dream Wedding Recap"/Allan Zepeda/The Knot

    The Knot Dream Wedding recap

    Five months after the Boston Marathon bombing, The Knot reached out to Rebekah Gregory and Pete DiMartino and offered to throw them a dream wedding. They said yes, and on April 4, 2014, the two married at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Rebekah and Pete exchanged vows on the tennis lawn amidst the cherry tree blossoms and then celebrated with all of their friends and family at a beautiful reception tent right in front of the estate. All of the details were perfectly executed by a team of talented and generous wedding industry pros, including celebrity wedding planner Marcy Blum. Here, a few highlights from Rebekah and Pete's wedding day.

buzzing now on msn living
The Heart Beat is a Great Dating Blogs Winner The Heart Beat is a Great Dating Blogs Winner
relationship videos
editor's picks
the heart beat