Those in school longer are more likely to get married and stay married, census study finds
Thursday, February 7th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The more educated you are, the more likely you are to marry.
Among younger men, having an older wife is becoming more common.
And while half of first marriages end in divorce, nine of 10 Americans are expected to say ``I do'' at least once in their lives, a Census Bureau report released Thursday shows.
The report, from a 1996 survey, provides ``comprehensive, historically rich data'' on marriage and divorce, said University of Michigan sociologist Pamela Smock. In the main, she said, ``it confirms things that many American people are aware of.''
The report also comes as the Bush administration weighs how to change the 1996 welfare overhaul, which must be renewed this year. President Bush's 2003 budget proposal included $100 million for experimental programs aimed at encouraging women on welfare to get married.
Among the long-held trends reinforced in the census report:
_While divorce has become more common, so has the tendency for divorcees to remarry. First marriages that end in divorce typically last about 8 years.
_Younger generations of Americans are delaying marriage until later in life.
``People no longer feel they have to rush down the aisle,'' said Marshall Miller, co-founder of the Boston-based Alternatives to Marriage Project. ``The earlier people are married, the more likely they are to get divorced.''
Which partly explains why more educated people tend to stay married, Miller said. His rationale: they are more mature when they tie the knot, and presumably have spent more time courting their future spouse.
In the fall of 1996, 92 out of 1,000 never-married men age 25 to 44 with a bachelor's degree got married within a year, compared with 59 out of 1,000 men of the same age with just a high school degree.
And, among never-married women age 25-to-44 with a college degree, 15 out of 1,000 divorced within a year, compared with 30 out of 1,000 women with just a high school diploma.
Long-held stereotypes of family makeup are slowly dissolving, said David Popenoe, of the National Marriage Project, a think tank at Rutgers University. The group studies marriage trends and ways of strengthening marriage, he said.
``In the past, guys would look for a stay-at-home housewife,'' he said. ``Young guys today are looking for someone with some money _ and that requires an education.''
_About 38 percent of women in their first marriage who married between 1945 and 1964 were the same age or older than their husbands, compared with 48 percent of once-married women who tied the knot between 1970 and 1989.
_About 50 percent of first marriages for men under age 45 may end in divorce, compared with roughly 47 percent for women in the same age group.