educated wivesPrevious studies have indicated that if a wife has more education than her husband, the more likely she is to get divorced. But a more recent study has concluded that is no longer the case.

All of the prior research had been conducted prior to the 1980’s, when women typically were not equaling or surpassing the education level of men. However, the past few decades have seen quite a change in that trend, and today it is not uncommon for a woman to have reached a higher education level than her husband.

The researchers gathered their data from the National Survey of Family Growth and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and examined marriages that occurred between 1950 and 2004. The study, entitled The Reversal of the Gender Gap in Education and Trends in Marital Dissolution, reveals that although marriages between equally educated spouses have remained the same, when there is a difference in education level, it is becoming more common for the wife to have the most education.

The education breakdown for couples married in the mid 1970’s was in 22 percent of marriages, the wife had more education than the husband; in 54.6 percent of marriages, the education level was equal; and in 23.4 percent, wives had less education than their husbands.

However, in marriages from 2000 to 2004, 29.2 percent of the women were more educated than their husbands; 50.9 percent were equal; and 19.9 percent of wives were less educated.

As that education level trend began to reverse, the number of divorces for wives more educated than their husbands began to decrease. In the 1990’s, those couples had the same divorce rate as other couples. Researchers say the divorce rate for couples who have equal education are also less likely to divorce than couples where the husband has more education than the wife.

Researcher Dr. Christine Schwartz, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says this indicates society is becoming less bound by traditional gender roles. "Younger generations are increasingly egalitarian. These findings are in line with the shift from a homemaker/breadwinner model of marriage to a more egalitarian marriage, where women have higher status than men are not as threatening to men's gender identity and less salient for marital stability," says Schwartz.

If you are considering a divorce and are looking for an experienced Arlington Heights family law attorney, contact A. Traub and Associates for a consultation today.