Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


College reduces odds for marriage among disadvantaged

For those with few social advantages, college is a prime pathway to financial stability, but it also unexpectedly lowers their odds of ever marrying, according to a study by Cornell University sociologist Kelly Musick being published in the February issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family (available online:

The findings suggest that social and cultural factors, not just income, are central to marriage decisions. Men and women from the least advantaged backgrounds who attend college appear to be caught between social worlds -- reluctant to "marry down" to partners with less education and unable to "marry up" to those from more privileged upbringings. Lower marriage chances appear to stem from men's and women's mismatched social origins and educational attainment -- a phenomenon Musick and co-authors refer to as "marriage market mismatch."

"College students are becoming more diverse in their social backgrounds, but they nonetheless remain a socio-economically select group," said Musick, associate professor of policy analysis and management in the College of Human Ecology. "It may be difficult for students from less privileged backgrounds to navigate social relationships on campus, and these difficulties may affect what students ultimately gain from the college experience."

Musick hoped the findings could raise awareness of potential social barriers faced by first-generation college students – barriers that could be keeping students from participating fully in the academic and social opportunities colleges have to offer.

For the study, Musick and sociologists at the University of California-Los Angeles estimated the propensity of men's and women's college attendance based on family income, parental education and other indicators of social background and early academic achievement. They then grouped their subjects into social strata based on these propensity scores and compared marriage chances of college- and non-college-goers within each stratum. Estimates were based on a sample of about 3,200 Americans from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, followed from adolescence into adulthood.

They found that college attendance negatively affected marriage chances for the least advantaged individuals -- lessening men's and women's odds by 38 percent and 22 percent, respectively. By comparison, among those in the highest social stratum, men who attend college increase their marrying chances by 31 percent and women by 8 percent.

Musick said that past studies have shown "college is the great equalizer" in the labor market, dampening social class differences. But the same can't be said for the marriage market.

"This research demonstrates the importance of differentiating between social background and educational achievement," she said. "Educational achievement may go far in reducing income differences between men and women from different social backgrounds, but social and cultural distinctions may persist in social and family relationships."

Contact Syl Kacapyr for information about Cornell's TV and radio studios.

Syl Kacapyr | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht New population data provide insight on aging, migration
31.08.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht PRB projects world population rising 33 percent by 2050 to nearly 10 billion
25.08.2016 | Population Reference Bureau

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>