Economic Resources and Marriage: Variation by Educational Attainment

Alicia VanOrman, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Men and women with little education are less likely to be married than those with high education. Current explanations for the education gap in marriage focus on the declining economic position of the less educated. Yet, education shapes attitudes, values, and social behaviors in ways that may impact how economic resources matter for marriage beyond differences in the level of economic resources. In this paper, I use data from the Current Population Survey, with logistic regression and decomposition analyses, to examine variation in the relationship between economic resources and marriage by education in order to extend explanations for the education gap in marriage. This study has important implications because marriage influences the distribution of social and economic resources within and between families. Shedding light on variation in how economic resources influence marriage may help explain why the education gap in marriage persists and highlight ways to mitigate its consequences.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Economy, Labor Force, Education and Inequality