Report shows highly educated women more likely to marry, attend church
A new study shows that highly educated Americans are more likely to get married, go to church regularly, and say that they are happy with their marriages.
The 2010 edition of The State of Our Unions also said that highly educated women are least likely to become single parents, and tend to have the lowest incidence of divorce, according to CNN.
This is a clear reversal of trends. In the 1970s Americans with moderate education—working class Americans or blue collar workers—were more likely to go to church regularly than those with college degrees, The Washington Times said.
Today, more Americans who are college graduates (34 percent) go to church regularly compared to moderately educated Americans (28 percent). W. Bradford Wilcox, author of the study, said that while college graduates tend to be more progressive regarding social issues, “when it comes to their own lives, they are increasingly adopting a marriage mindset and acting accordingly,” The Washington Times said.
CNN described the “marriage mindset” as a tendency to integrate church attendance and faith in marriage as a way of life.
Wilcox is the director of the National Marriage Project of the University of Virginia. The report was jointly released with the Center for Marriage and Families from the Institute for American Values, The Washington Times reported.
Other findings of the study are:
- College educated American women are less likely to become single mothers at 6 percent compared to 44 percent with moderate education, and 54 percent among the least educated, CNN said.
- College educated Americans, at 69 percent, will more likely say they are “very happy” with their marriages, compared to 57 percent of moderately educated Americans, The Washington Times said.
- College educated Americans experienced a decline in divorce/separation in the first 10 years of marriage at 15 to 11 percent in the last 40 years, compared to a 10 percent among least educated Americans, and an increase by one percent among moderately educated Americans, CNN said.
- The teenage daughters age 14 of college educated mothers are more likely to be living with both parents (81 percent), compared to teenage daughters age 14 of moderately educated women (58 percent), The Washington Times said.
Wilcox told CNN, “On average, marriage plays a key role in securing the welfare of children. Children are much more likely to thrive if they are raised in a married home with their own mother and father.”
Implications of study
Christianity Today said the study shows that in middle America marriage is being assailed by high rates of divorce and single parenthood, which were once more prevalent among poor communities.
The movement of these social problems to the middle class will adversely affect the social and emotional wellbeing of children. According to Christianity Today, adults who do not marry nor stay married also tend to be less likely to save for the future and to succeed.
The Washington Times noted that only 30 percent of Americans are college graduates, while 58 percent of Americans are moderately educated, and 12 percent, high school dropouts.
If the trend continues, Wilcox said, “it is likely that we will witness the emergence of a new society,” where a stable family and upward mobility will be “beyond the reach of too many Americans,” The Washington Times reported.
To offset the trend, Wilcox told CNN there is a need for more church and civic outreaches, which help establish meaningful relationships and bring purpose to life. More effort must also be exerted to convey to general society the benefits of marriage, especially in regard to the children.