‘Marrying Down’ May Cost Educated Women $25K a Year

Recent study shows black women who marry less educated men may be losing financially

(File: Image)
(File: Image)

The National Journal reports,  a new study regarding marriage, that dissects interracial marriages, and notes things like average income, and education of various race combinations. The study shows that women, in particularly black women, who marry less educated men, may be costing themselves $25K a year.

[Related: How Love in the City Star Bershan Shaw Turned Pain Into Purpose]

They call it “Marrying down,”  and  the study, done by the Pew Research Center shows that in 2010 about 15 percent of all new marriages in the United States were between couples of different ethnicities, more than double the rate in 1980.

According to the study, Asian women were most likely to marry outside their own race, followed by Asian men. And an Asian man who married a White woman held the highest median income ($71,800). Black women, however, were among the least likely to marry outside their own race. That wouldn’t mean much, except when we consider that Black men have one of the lowest educational attainment rates according to National Journal.

“There’s almost a triple dimension of issues [Black women] have to deal with,” said Kris Marsh, an associate professor of sociology and demography at the University of Maryland. “One, they have a low, and I quote this, ‘out-marriage’ rate. And two, if they do marry a Black man, they’re more likely to marry someone less educated than themselves. And the other thing that’s interesting is that [Black women] … are much more likely to not marry at all.”

The National Journal writes:

This is important when you take into account that economists find that between 10 and 16 percent of the country’s income inequality is due to the “growing correlation of earned incomes received by husbands and wives.” That’s a conclusion by Gary Burtless, a senior fellow at Brookings notes, which was cited by Reeves.

So how exactly does marriage impact mobility?

A White or Black woman who marries someone less educated will suffer a household income of $25,000 less a year. Because educated Black women more frequently marry a less educated man, the income deficit affects Black families more often.

“I’m not sure it impedes social mobility, but it maintains a level of social inequality,” says economist William Darity Jr., the Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy at Duke University, who also teaches African and African-American studies. “If we think the solution is to have more wealthy white people marry lower resourced, less wealthy Black people, I’m not sure you can enact that as as social policy.”