With the release of today’s Pew Research Center report, many preconceived ideas about the economic dynamics of marriage seem to be turned on their head.
Entitled “The New Economics of Marriage: The Rise of Wives,” the study shows that a “larger share of women today, compared with their 1970 counterparts, have more education and income than their spouses. As a result, in recent decades the economic gains associated with marriage have been greater for men than for women.”
As the Washington Post details;
Looking at the impact of nearly four decades of social change, the report shows that men increasingly get a significant economic boost when they tie the knot — improving their household incomes and often pairing up with a partner who has at least as much education as they do. Compared to 1970, when men usually married women with less education and fewer wives worked, these changes have contributed to a “gender role reversal in the gains from marriage,” the report said.
“What’s radically changed is that marriage now is a better deal for men,” said Richard Fry, co-author of the report, published by the Pew Research Center. “Now when men marry, often their spouse works quite a bit. Often she is better-educated than the guy.” In 1970, unmarried men “had a higher economic status than married guys,” he said, “but no longer.”
While there is no doubt these significant economic changes for married people combined have trasformed the dynamics of marriage, what I believe is worthy of further research, is the impact, if any, on that of how these trends have affected the social and interpersonal dynamics of marriage. Perhaps then, with better understanding of contemporary marriage and shifting societal expectations we can learn and accept all who choose to undertake its demands.