1. People & Relationships
Cathy Meyer

Those With College Educations Have Lower Divorce Rates

By June 16, 2007

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According to the Chicago Tribune divorce rates are at their lowest level since 1970. What I find interesting is what some experts say is the reason.

”Stephanie Coontz, who teaches history and family studies at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., says divorces are dropping in the college-educated sector because many spouses "are learning how to negotiate marriages based on less rigid gender roles than in the past." "College-educated wives are more likely to work than less-educated wives, and a recent study found that unlike the past, a wife's work now tends to stabilize marriage," she said”

One of the researchers whose studies detected the "divorce divide" is University of Maryland sociologist Steve Martin. Comparing marriages from early 1970s to those of the early '90s, Martin found that the rate of breakups within 10 years of marriage dropped by one-third among college-educated women while remaining stable among less- educated women.

"Overall, marriages will become more stable only if the lower two- thirds of the population starts behaving like the top third," Martin said. "There's a lot of debate—is that possible? Can marriage training or other programs give all couples the sort of relationship skills that people imagine college graduates have?"

Here are my thoughts on the above article and opinions:

  • Are we getting a double message from society? We are lead to believe that the best thing we can do for our children is become stay at home mothers. Now, we are being told that a woman who works helps stabilize their marriage. Is this just one more choice for women to have to contend with…doing what is best for her children or, doing what is best for her marriage? Or, does the drop in divorce rates because more women work mean finally having an answer to the question of what we need to do, as women to succeed in marriage? Which is more important in a child’s life, a mother who is at home or an intact family?

  • If marriages with working wives are more stable do the wives have to be college educated? I’m a bit offended by the statement, “marriages will become more stable only if the lower two- thirds of the population starts behaving like the top third.” Does Mr. Martin mean that only those who are able to go to college and obtain careers will be able to stabilize their marriages? If it is as simple as more wives working then why do we need programs to teach people relationship skills? Isn’t it true that if financial problems are the number one reason for divorce, having two spouses work lowers the chances of financial problems? Whether those two people are college educated or not.

    In my opinion, the news that having both spouses work helps to decrease the rate of divorce is good news. It gives us an answer to a question people have been asking for 30 years. This is knowledge we can all use and benefit from whether we are college educated or not.

May 13, 2009 at 1:33 pm
(1) Anonymous Male says:

This study is true because too many people put such a high value on money in a marriage. It seems from the study that women feel more “equal” to men because they bring home a paycheck. I personally don’t understand this.

Money is just paper people get over it. When you eliminate money from the equation you will be able to see your relationship in a whole different light.

April 8, 2010 at 4:14 pm
(2) Ken says:

I think that college teaches couples critical thinking. Collaboration and critical thinking in a marriage makes it a successful one. THAT is why the divorce rate is lower among college graduates. It is not about the money! It is about critical thinking and collaboration of the individuals of that couple.

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