Jessica Grose isn't impressed by the statistics in Lori Gottlieb's case for settling, which is based on the argument that there are tons of professional, single women unable to find a husband. The numbers, Grose says, show something very different: Professional women are fine. It's their less-educated brethren who are struggling:
Like many people who write about the marriage predicament of a narrow slice of America, Gottlieb is conflating her statistics. It's true that the percentage of married women has been declining since the ’70s. But that decline has nothing to do with those unhappy lawyers and graphic designers. In fact, college-educated women — and Gottlieb's book is filthy with attorneys and screenwriters and executives — are still getting married at extremely high rates. And these days they are far more likely to stay married than they were 40 years ago. Marriage, in fact, has never been kinder to the professional woman. So while there may be a few holdouts, it hardly amounts to a crisis. It's a tiny problem for the very privileged picky few.
To sociologists who study marriage, what's troubling lately is the chasm that has opened up between the most- and least-educated women. About 80 percent of female college grads ages 30-44 have been married at some point, compared with 71 percent of women who did not graduate from high school, according to the latest Pew research. The marriages of college grads are also increasingly stable. From the 1970s to the ’90s, rates of divorce fell by almost half among college-educated women, but they remained high among women with less than a four-year degree. If there's a crisis in marriage, it's because the least educated and poorest women are no longer getting married.
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