Marriage rates have steadily declined over the past few decades, and now researchers from Cornell University are offering up a possible explanation: there just aren’t as many economically-attractive men for unmarried women to meet as there used to be.
Previous studies had attempted to answer why marriage rates are on the decline, but most focused solely on gender ratio discrepancies as opposed to looking into the specific socioeconomic characteristics that make a particular man and woman a good match.
First, the study’s authors examined data collected on recent marriages between 2007-2012 and 2013-2017, gathered as part of the American Community Survey’s cumulative 5-year marriage statistics. That data was used to estimate the financial and sociodemographic characteristics of unmarried women’s potential husbands by creating economic profiles that resembled real husbands who had married comparable women. These potential husband estimates were then compared to actual population data on unmarried men across national, state, and local locations.