Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Marriage… It’s Changed.

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.


  1. fogiv

    I’m recently hitched, and yet don’t feel riched.  My lovely bride lost her job last November (the bad economy is thrashing her industry sector).  If fact, we hustled our nuptials so I could add her to my health coverage, which (of course) reduces my take home pay.

    Well, shit.

    Nice to see a CG diary again, BTW.  Miss you!

  2. HappyinVT

    there was an ad on the right-side of the page to “meet wealthy women.”  That’s kinda creepy.

    Now there’s one offering great divorce advise for men only.  Which is below the 754 singles in my area online now, which is below the meet latin ladies ad.

    Hmm, what kinda joint we running here, anyway?

  3. sricki

    Thanks for diarying it — it’s an interesting issue.

    I’m not a fan of marriage for myself personally, but most people find it important, so the economics of it seemingly worth pointing out.

  4. HappyinVT

    I do wonder what the implication are, if any, to this.  Men have been typically seen at the bread winner/family provider so is the woman’s role seen differently now or is she still seen as supplementing the man’s role?  How does this relate to traditional household duties?  I’m guessing, based on anecdotal evidence, that the woman is still primarily for the child rearing.  If someone’s getting the call about a sick child it is most likely the woman, no matter who makes more money, that deals with it.

    Has anyone watched that show on Bravo about the Millionaire Matchmaker.  I’ve only seen the previews but I believe the matchmaker has only had one female millionare to make a match for; apparently she’s coming back again to try again.  Is it that woman who make money aren’t as “driven” to get married?  Or that they need less help?  Or am I making a whole honkin’ big deal out of nothing?  (I got sleepy all of a sudden.)

  5. rfahey22

    And I couldn’t be happier.  Whooo, gravy train!  

    One thing that it has opened my eyes to, though, is the pervasiveness of sexism at this late date, even in professions where you might expect people to know better.  It’s disheartening to hear her stories about how many of her male colleagues act like a bunch of five-year-olds, and how the odds are stacked against career advancement because no allowances are made for women who may choose to bear children.  Luckily, she’s smarter and feistier than most of the guys and can usually put them in their place.

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