LAWRENCE, Kan. — All the single men, take note: There may be no better time than now to find “the one” and tie the knot, especially if you’re into “marrying up.” A new study finds that closing the gender gap in terms of pay and education is benefiting the guys more than ever before.
Researchers at the University of Kansas looked at data on individuals of prime working age— i.e., 35 to 44— hoping to discover how the upward mobility of many females has affected their partners.
“Previously, women received more financial return to education than men, because their return in the marriage market was high,” explains lead author ChangHwan Kim in a press release. “However, this female advantage has deteriorated over time despite women’s substantial progress in education and labor-market performance.”
Namely, between 1990 and 2010, the benefits conferred to females as it pertained to family-standard-of-living decreased by 13 percent, which coincides with an influx in education and wages among women.
In fact, there are more highly-educated female marriage candidates than males today, which has played an essential role in the increased share of wages that wives contribute to their household.
In other words, the equalization of wages has actually benefited men who’ve tied the knot — as well as those who are looking for love, and perhaps the hope of marrying up and securing a stronger financial future.
“This could explain why it seems men don’t complain a lot about this,” Kim says. “Our answer is that’s true because look at the actual quality of life, which is determined more likely by family income rather than by personal earnings. It seems fine for men because their wife is now bringing more income to the household. One implication of these findings is that the importance of marriage market has increased for men’s total economic well-being.”
For men and women alike, it’s a good sign that marriage has become more egalitarian, Kim argues.
Still, the diminishing share of men’s wages may be felt more keenly by poorer families, as a less-educated wife may not be able to make up the gap.
Overall, “men are getting the benefit from women’s progress,” Kim concludes.
The study’s findings were published in the journal Demography.