A college degree may be the key to marital bliss, according to a study released yesterday.
The 2010 edition of "The State of Our Unions" compares high school dropouts, high school graduates and college graduates, and finds that “highly educated” Americans have the strongest marriages and have seen very little decline in happiness since the 1970s.
“Moderately educated” Americans — those with a high school diploma — have seen a sharp drop in marriage happiness since the ’70s, as divorce and non-marital childbearing among the groups rises. The class as a whole, the study said, is “losing faith in marriage.”
“In middle America, marriage is in trouble,” the authors wrote. “Although marriage is still held in high regard … moderately educated Americans have become less likely to form stable, high-quality marriage.”
Marriage among the poor and least-educated is still “fragile and weak,” the study said.
It also found that in the 2000s, 44 percent of babies born to moderately educated mothers were born out of wedlock; that number drops to six percent for highly educated mothers.
Study editor W. Bradford Wilcox said the high number puts kids at risk.
“Marriage plays a key role in securing the welfare of children,” he told CNN. “Children are much more likely to thrive if they are raised in a married home with their own mother and father.”
A boost in unemployment and a decrease in religious attendance and civic participation are among the factors fueling the decline in marriages for the less educated, Wilcox said. He urged society to tout the advantages of marriage, especially when children are involved.
The study was released by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia.