How much does income influence decisions about marriage?

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com

Interesting article:

This “mood affiliation” review is from a Rortybomb pointer I believe, excerpt:

Murray can’t tell you what really caused the class divide in marriage because the class-based changes in families he laments closely track the class warfare of the 1%. Up through the mid-’80s, upper class and working class divorce rates rose and fell together. Starting in 1990, the lines diverged, with the divorce rates of college graduates falling back to the level of the mid-sixties (before no-fault divorce) while the divorce and non-marital birth rates of everyone else continued to rise.

Do all the other social indicators follow this same pattern? Did religiosity decline because of privileges for the wealthy and class warfare? Are we supposed to think that broadly stagnant incomes for the lower classes caused more divorce for those individuals? Didn’t stagnant incomes set in around 1973, with parts of the 1990s being relatively good times for the labor market? In other words, those divorce rate and other social indicator changes are not the fault of the top one percent as this review would have you believe. This latter point in the review makes more sense to me, though I don’t read it as contra Murray:

Third, women’s employment increased in the same period and women’s wages gained the most vis-à-vis men at the bottom of the income scale. As recently as 1990, women of all educational levels earned about the same percent of the hourly wages of men with the same education. To the extent the gendered “wage gap” varied, college educated women enjoyed slightly more parity with men than working class women. By 2007, the wage gap varied dramatically by class. College-educated women earned a smaller percentage of the hourly income of their male counterparts, while the wage gap between working-class men and women shrunk substantially.

…The result: a change in family norms. College-educated women postpone childbearing, invest in their careers, and conduct a long search for a compatible and reliable mate.

What isn’t made clear is why college educated women would want to postpone marriage and invest in their careers if their income is falling as a percentage of mens. Do the women have to wait for the men to be ready to marry? Or is that the women are determined to have a career, and therefore have to work much harder to achieve a decent income (I’ve seen lots of evidence of this with my eyes). Or, related to the last 2 points, perhaps women have the feeling that marriage is fragile and fails often and so they should have their own income to support themselves in case of divorce (this is the traditional argument, that goes back before the feminist movement of the 60s; back then marriage was fragile, not because the divorce rate was high, but because men could simply leave — the Census of 1940, reflecting the damage of the Great Depression, showed the widest gap ever between women who said they were married and men who said they were divorced or single. That is, men denied the marriages.).

Source