Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

College reduces odds for marriage among disadvantaged

Date:
January 31, 2012
Source:
Cornell University
Summary:
For those with few social advantages, college is a prime pathway to financial stability, but it also unexpectedly lowers their odds of ever marrying, according to a new study.

For those with few social advantages, college is a prime pathway to financial stability, but it also unexpectedly lowers their odds of ever marrying, according to an analysis by Cornell University sociologist Kelly Musick in the February issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family.

The findings suggest that social and cultural factors, not just income, are central to marriage decisions. Men and women from the least advantaged backgrounds who attend college appear to be caught between social worlds -- reluctant to "marry down" to partners with less education and unable to "marry up" to those from more privileged upbringings. Lower marriage chances appear to stem from men's and women's mismatched social origins and educational attainment -- a phenomenon Musick and co-authors refer to as "marriage market mismatch."

"College students are becoming more diverse in their social backgrounds, but they nonetheless remain a socio-economically select group -- particularly at elite universities like Cornell," said Musick, associate professor of policy analysis and management in the College of Human Ecology. "It may be difficult for students from less privileged backgrounds to navigate social relationships on campus, and these difficulties may affect what students ultimately gain from the college experience."

Musick hoped the findings could raise awareness of potential social barriers faced by first-generation college students, which could be keeping them from participating fully in the academic and social opportunities colleges have to offer.

For the study, Musick and sociologists at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) estimated the propensity of men's and women's college attendance based on family income, parental education and other indicators of social background and early academic achievement. They then grouped their subjects into social strata based on these propensity scores and compared marriage chances of college- and non-college-goers within each stratum. Estimates were based on a sample of about 3,200 Americans from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, followed from adolescence into adulthood.

They found that college attendance negatively affected marriage chances for the least advantaged individuals -- lessening men's and women's odds by 38 percent and 22 percent, respectively. By comparison, among those in the highest social stratum, men who attend college increase their marrying chances by 31 percent and women by 8 percent.

Musick said that past studies have shown "college is the great equalizer" in the labor market, dampening social class differences. But the same can't be said for the marriage market.

"This research demonstrates the importance of differentiating between social background and educational achievement," she said. "Educational achievement may go far in reducing income differences between men and women from different social backgrounds, but social and cultural distinctions may persist in social and family relationships."

The study made use of facilities and resources at the Cornell Population Center and the California Center for Population Research at UCLA.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell University. The original article was written by Ted Boscia, assistant director of communications for the College of Human Ecology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kelly Musick, Jennie E. Brand, Dwight Davis. Variation in the Relationship Between Education and Marriage: Marriage Market Mismatch? Journal of Marriage and Family, 2012; 74 (1): 53 DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2011.00879.x

Cite This Page:

Cornell University. "College reduces odds for marriage among disadvantaged." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120131092420.htm>.
Cornell University. (2012, January 31). College reduces odds for marriage among disadvantaged. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120131092420.htm
Cornell University. "College reduces odds for marriage among disadvantaged." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120131092420.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Sixteen large food and beverage companies in the United States that committed to cut calories in their products far surpassed their target. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

AP (Sep. 17, 2014) The Federal Reserve signaled Wednesday that it plans to keep a key interest rate at a record low because a broad range of U.S. economic measures remain subpar. Stocks hit an all-time high on the news. (Sept. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins