Marriage decline blamed on lack of 'economically attractive' men

ByBlanca Rios WLS logo
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Decline of U.S. marriages blamed on lack of 'economically attractive' men; Cornell University study
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A new study by Cornell University found there is a shortage of "economically attractive" men for unmarried women to marry.

It's raining men.

But not "economically attractive" men.

The nation has seen a steady decline in marriages and a new study by Cornell University blames it on a shortage of economically attractive men for unmarried women to marry.

"Most American women hope to marry but current shortages of marriageable men - with a stable job and good income - make this increasingly difficult, especially in the current gig economy of unstable low-paying service jobs," said lead author Daniel T. Lichter, PhD, of Cornell University.

The study focused on opposite-sex couples.

Researchers looked at the sociodemographic characteristics of unmarried women's potential spouses who resemble the husbands of otherwise comparable married women.

They found different racial groups, especially black women, face serious shortages of potential marital partners, as do unmarried women with either low or high socioeconomic status.

According to the study, estimated potential "dream" husbands had an average income about 58% higher than the actual unmarried men currently available to unmarried women.

They are also 30% more likely to be employed and 19% more likely to have a college degree.

"Marriage is still based on love, but it also is fundamentally an economic transaction," said Lichter. "Many young men today have little to bring to the marriage bargain, especially as young women's education levels on average now exceed their male suitors."

The study is published in the Journal of Marriage and Family.