Monday, March 30, 2015

Marriage tracks male accomplishment, is female accomplishment

Some GSS data germane to Heartiste's recent post founded on the basic, veritable premises that female attractiveness is primarily defined by physical appearance while male attractiveness is far more contingent upon other characteristics, especially status, follow.

Since male attractiveness is determined more by status than female attractiveness is, we'd expect to see a stronger positive correlation between things like educational attainment and marital status among men than among women.

And that is indeed what we see. The proceeding table shows the percentages of respondents aged 40-65 by educational attainment who were either married or widowed when they participated in the survey (n = 2,735):

% married among%Men%Women
Less than HS56.059.3
HS grad66.670.4
Some college65.967.4
Bachelor degree75.170.3
Graduate degree78.072.3

Once we get above the underclass of high school dropouts, a woman's education has little discernible influence on whether or not she is successfully married. Among men, on the other hand, there is an upward trajectory of marital prospects as educational attainment increases.

This complements the previous finding that contemporary male reproductive trends in the US are marginally eugenic and female reproductive trends moderately dysgenic.

GSS variables used: YEAR(2004-2014), SEX, EDUC(0-11)(12)(13-15)(16-17)(18-20), AGE(40-65), MARITAL(1-2)(3-5)


JayMan said...

I'd narrow the age range to make the results more cross-comparable.

Also, is this a sign that more educated men are more desirable mates, or is it that they are more likely to settle down to marry?

I also wonder about the racial confound.

Audacious Epigone said...


It probably is wiser to just default to non-Hispanic whites only on questions like these, although interracial marriages don't constitute a large fraction of total marriages, and I'm not sure how much they'd skew the results systematically (I'll dig this weekend a little).