With the exception of my commentary, nearly all of this post was derived from the research and findings of Wendy Wang and Kim Parker at Pew Research.
Pew Research Center has just released some telltale findings regarding marriage in America. I am color-blind when it comes to matchmaking, and I am as much for gender parity as anyone else. However, there are some startling statistics that relate to race, gender, education and employment that are worth noting and considering as you look for the “bigger better deal” in dating.
Let’s start with some of the more obvious findings. The average age of first time marriages for men has gone from 23 to 29 between 1960 and 2012. For women it has gone from 20 to 23. And now, ¼ of never married young adults 25 to 34 live with a partner. Why? Shifting public values, changing demographic patterns and hard economic times have all been contributing factors.
Somewhat unsurprising is that the proportion of single, never married adults who would like to get married versus those who are ambivalent or sure that they won’t has dropped considerably in just a two year span. In 2010, 61% of single, never married young adults said they would like to get married. In 2012, that dropped to 53%. 13% said they definitely do not want to get married and 32% are unsure (versus 27% uncertainty in 2010).
Some of the conclusions they found were not that startling. 46% of men versus 78% of women feel having a steady job is “very important” in determining whether or not someone would be a good potential mate. 62% of men versus 70% of women feel that similar views on having/raising children is “very important” when considering whether or not someone is marriage material.
This is where the rubber hits the road. According to authors Wendy Wang and Kim Parker,
In 1960, among never-married adults ages 25 to 34, the number of employed men per 100 women dropped from 139 in 1960 to 91 in 2012, despite the fact that men in this age group outnumber young women in absolute numbers. In other words, if all never-married young women in 2012 wanted to find a young employed man who had also never been married, 9% of them would fail, simply because there are not enough men in the target group. Five decades ago, never-married young women had a much larger pool of potential spouses from which to choose.
A lot of women that hire me insist that the man is at least college educated. That’s easy for them to say. Today, 1/3 of women over 25 that have never been married have at least a bachelor’s degree compared to ¼ men. When it comes to advanced degrees there are 77 never-married men ages 25 to 34 post-grads for every 100 women with similar educational credentials.
What has happened? In 1960, 93% of men 25 to 34 were in the labor force. Now, that participation has dropped to 82%. Additionally, median wages have dropped 20% over the past 30 years for men. And because the wage gap is closing between men and women as of 2012, among 25 to 34 year olds, women now earn 93% of the wages that men do. That’s up from less than 70% in 1980.
When it comes to racial differences it seems that in 2012 36% of Blacks, 26% of Hispanics and 16% of Whites 25 or older have never been married. In 1960 only 9% of Blacks, 13% of Hispanics and 8% of Whites 25 or older have never been married. Interestingly enough, 58% of Blacks believe that marriage is important if you intend to spend the rest of your life with someone, compared to only 44% of Whites.
In most racial and ethnic groups, men are more likely than women to have never been married. The major exception is among Blacks. In 2012, roughly equal shares of Black men (36%) and Black women (35%) ages 25 and older had never been married. In 1960, Black men were more likely than Black women to have never been married (12% vs. 8%).
For Blacks ages 25 to 34, there are 92 never-married men for every 100 never-married women. When employment status is taken into consideration, there are 51 employed young Black men for every 100 young Black women. Among never-married White, Hispanic and Asian American young adults, the ratio of employed men to women is roughly equal—100 men for every 100 women. Several decades ago, there was a surplus of young employed men among Whites, and for every 100 young Black women, there were nearly 90 employed Black men.
Ultimately, Darwin’s law of natural selection will take over and the hunt for marriage will be about survival of the fittest. Women will have to outmatch each other in order to land an ideal mate. This is why it is so important to be on the top of your game when it comes to dating. Both marriage-minded men and marriage minded women will have to be their best selves in order to meet their match. Hiring a matchmaker, retaining a coach and increasing the frequency and modes of meeting people are all ways to increase your likelihood of finding a spouse.
There is one more conclusion worth noting. Previously married women are less likely to be interested in remarrying than previously married men. Only 15% of these women want to remarry versus 29% of these men. And 54% of these women state that they are “not interested” in getting remarried while only 30% of these men say the same.
To read the research from Pew please click HERE.