Marriage Tied To Income
Two recent reports on marriage seem to support a post that I authored last year where I suggested that the decrease in marriage was tied to income.
A recent Wall Street Journal Report indicates that American men in their 30's are making less money than their fathers did at the same age (adjusted for the cost of living). This, in my opinion, seems to correspond with the marriage pinch that some women are feeling, in terms of finding suitable men- "suitable" often meaning financially suitable. Women just happen to start feeling this pinch in their 30's.
Well, a discussion this week on the public radio program On Point seems to confirm not only that there is a marriage gap, but that the gap is based on socio-economics. Three scholars break down in clear detail how income impacts marriage. One African American scholar, Ronald Mincy, looks at the impact on African Americans in particular. Listen to this excellent discussion here. (Use the RealPlayer Audio Option). I'm one of those people who can't afford it....and can't afford to date or to even think about it.
People who are more affluent are more likely to be married.... and not only "married" but "happily married". While people who are near the bottom of the wage scale are more likely to be unmarried, due to the difficulty of finding a good potential life partner. Marriage is becoming more of a status symbol.... a sign of affluence in this country, rather than a covenant between two people (as it once was).
One of the guests on the radio program even suggests something that I have been saying for years now... that American society is turning into more of a Caste-like system, where economic classes are well defined, we become segregated along the lines of economic class and where something like marriage will be reserved only for those who can afford it...those in certain economic groups. Those who are less affluent will have a greater chance of being alone or unwed over their lifetimes.
The wedding ceremonies themselves have become a huge deal in this country, with the average cost well over $20,000.