Source: The Huffington Post
Marriage rates in the United States have been declining steadily across races over the last decade, with those who do marry doing so much later in life. African Americans and those with less than a high school education, however, have been marrying far less and much later in life (if at all) than whites and those with more education.
This marital stratification by race and education is what Princeton University researcher Daniel Schneider set out to understand in a recent report.The study, released earlier this month, reveals that wealth accumulation–such as owning a car, a home or having money in the bank–is a determining factor for first marriage. In other words, those with greater personal assets are more likely to marry, and to do so earlier in lives.
Schneider says that because African Americans and those with less education are among the most systemically disadvantaged social groups, they are less able to accumulate wealth and thus less likely to marry, despite the fact that young Americans across races consistently report a desire to wed.
HuffPost Weddings spoke with Schneider to get more insight into his findings.
What are the major findings of your research?
Increasingly, all Americans are marrying later, and to some degree less, but we’re really seeing the divide emerge between blacks and whites and the more and less educated. Increasingly whites [are] marrying more than blacks and those with more education–in this case high school or college, versus less than high school–are marrying at higher rates as well. My finding was really to apply a recent insight from ethnographic qualitative work that showed young people talking about the importance of having some wealth–money in the bank, a car, even a home, for marriage–to understand this puzzle of stratification. Because what we see in America is a deep, entrenched inequality in wealth by race and by education, and we also then see the same differentiation in marriage behavior. I think the key result here is that when we account for the importance of wealth for first first marriage, we can explain not everything, but a pretty large portion of these gaps that have emerged in marriage by race and education.
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