More and More Educated “professional” Women are “Marrying down”, Says Study


phaedra-apollo1By: Krystle Crossman

A new study from the Pew Research Center is showing that more and more women who are well-educated are marrying down. This means that they are marrying men who are less educated than they are. In 1960 only 6.9% of women were more educated than their husbands. In 2012 that number has jumped to 21%. In fact there are more couples that are married with the woman being more educated than there are with men being more educated.

The last two decades have shown that women have a higher college graduation rate than men do. Statistics about college-educated newlyweds shows that 39% of women got married to someone who had not graduated from college while only 26% of men married a woman that had not graduated. Does this make the women better than the men? Of course not, but it shows that women may be more willing to marry someone that has decided that education is not for them.

Even though the women may be more educated than men, they still earn less. Around 58% of women that were better educated than their male counterparts earned less. Only 39% of married women that were more educated than their husbands made more money. This just goes to show that there is still inequality in the workplace for men and women no matter what their education level is. As of 2012, women were still earning 76.5 cents per every dollar that a man made. According to a Census Bureau, men made a median annual salary of $49,398 while the women earned a median of $37,791. The gap had narrowed considerably from the 80s to the 90s but since then hasn’t made much of a move.



  1. Because true love and relationship principals are not built on money and materialistic values. We made it an issue, not God… Its time to get back to natural spiritual basic rules before we are totally wiped out. My mother was a teacher who taught my father how to read when I was a very very small child. My father only had a 6th grade education, but he went on and became a supervisor through Unified School Dist while my mom taught school. I raised my children on those principles. We always miss out on our blessings behind foolishness… Not in my circle

    Today its all about the [email protected] bling bling… really sad and lost people!!!

    • Well said . People seem to equate a good marriage with finances. When you get married, you are looking for a life partner, not necessarily a bank account,.I’m not by any means saying he should not be a provider bit love and mutual respect is what keeps a marriage going through the hard times. Money doesn’t and it sure won’t keep you warm at night.

    • Your comment is so heart-warming, down to earth and refreshing!! Your parents appears to have really loved and appreciated each other!! What a legacy!!! PEACE

  2. My mother didn’t marry a man beneath / DOWN her just because he didn’t have a degree like her… what a poor choice of words coming from an editor or was it just written to get a rise…humm

  3. Redbone, you are so right!!!My mother was an educator and married a farmer[my daddy] and she taught Daddy to read on a higher level!!Love Happens….

  4. More educated professional women are marrying down,sounds very condesending and offensive.This person makes it sound like its all about status and not about finding ones soulmate.

    • Thank You Marcus….
      that’s the mentality and thought process of our people. “Materialism Values Rule”, and that’s really sad because my daddy was a very very hard working black-man, he worked 2 jobs until he couldn’t work anymore, my mom made him retired to preserve his life. Our household was never valued around my father not having a degree or the BLING BLING, and we had nice valuable things of quality and we didn’t live in the ghetto. Marrying Down… really!! so ugly and very very tacky!!!

    • So what if they are? Men did it for years and have learned that it’s okay to marry a woman that may make more money or may be more educated. I don’t see anything wrong with that. The days of marrying women just based soley on her looks are over. You have to bring something to the table besides your looks now with any smart man.

  5. I think it depends on the degree. I hold a Statistics degree and seem to be better off then my girlfriend that holds a Masters in Education.

  6. Let’s get this straight. Your parents did not have many role models in their past who went to college. Many opportunities did not exist. There is absolutely NO excuse that a man cannot go to college these days or even 40 years ago! The government has been giving FREE money (grants) and student loans to anyone who would apply since the 1970’s and before. That’s over 40 years of ACCESSIBLE MONEY! There are countless men who marry a woman just BECAUSE she has a good job due to her college degree. Many men are too lazy to get their OWN money. Many women are just so desperate to have a man that their only requirement for a man is sex on demand!! These woman feel that as long as there is a “pipe” in the bed, nothing else matters! Successful women have just given up looking for Mr. Right because in reality, there is no Mr. Right. Why? Because black men gave up trying to do the right thing a long time ago! Why try harder when they know that all they have to do is be a sex machine!

    • Dr. Liz I’m a “Black Man” with a masters degree in “computer engineering” & a business owner here in the city of Chicago & some of the most prosperous & successful “in marriage & life” “Black Men” I know haven’t attended a day of college. Yes advance education is a good predictor of financial success but its by no means absolute, nor does it account for an individuals, character, talents, drive or intelligence, some of the most prosperous businessmen here on the South Side Chicago “the largest most affluent & educated African-American communities in the world” have no collegiate experience

      • Ur sure right my brother because I know a few and cuzo’s wife owns a number of beauty shops and property on the South Side and she has no degree.Her dad left a boatload of money and property to them with a 6th grade education. One of my good friends was Ice Mike on the West Side. He owned 20 blocks!! Division at the highest and it has to stop!! Good stuff…Hotep

      • I have a degree. My fiancee’ doesnt. He has a HS diploma, joined the military at 18 and served this country for four years then got a job MTA Transit in NY at age 23, he is now a motorman with seniority making $50K more a year than me. So when we marry am I marrying down because he doesnt have a degree or is he marrying down because he makes more money than me, please riddle me this?

    • Imma tell it to you straight lady, I am a ex pro baseball player, I didn’t have the massive contracts that you see today but indidnt good and I have a lot of pro athlete friends and they dumb themselves down all the time messing with women who don’t make what they make! Tiger Woods anyone? Shaunie O’Neal and many others who have gotten a good living with their punnany! ! Some have degrees but like Eddie Murphy said” I got 30 million and she has 50,000 or 100,000!” What about that lady. I know a number of athelets that want women who dont just want their money! What about that? I make good with my own biz and skills and my wife does also and we laugh at you so called bourgeois women that cats like me used to bang and go because of the plastic aura around them.I know an Electrician that makes about 90,000 and his wife was a pharmaceutical rep that made about 100 grand and they are not together today. I wonder what TD JAKES wife would say? Or Taffy? Or first lady Price? Or most passas wife’s that get to shop till they drop and not on a whole rake in the change. Why you think all those cats are suing and getting custody because they are not gonna be pumped. Willie Gary got his good. He caught her misusing the child support and got it reduced from 28,000 a month to 5,000!! What about that lady…Check

    • @Dr. Liz

      Excuse me sistah but your so out of touch you sound like a robot, a rigid computer who has been taught by a white-wash society absent from humanity with absolutely no spiritual connection whatsoever.
      My father had all types of role models, my mothers background is educators and professors, and they owned and operated a small college out of Tx.
      College is not for everybody and I’m not going to sit here and break it all down for you, especially when you call yourself “DR. LIZ”…wink!!
      To say someone: man or woman (married down) just because one partner didn’t have a degree is way over the edge “STUPID / DUMB”…

      Now since you seem to have all the answers let me hip your “ROBOT” to something……

      My father was 6 yrs older then my mother, she started having children at 16 yrs old, married my father at 16 yrs old, not because she was pregnant, but because she was in love with my father and he was madly in-love with my mother.
      They had 5 children stair-steps ages (1 2 3 4 5) literally…wink! My father was a pool shark, a boxer, and a chef while my mother stayed home and raised her babies. When we were all old enough to start pre-school & elementary my father brought us a brand new home in a brand new neighborhood to live in while he worked, cooked, did laundry, walked us to school on his off days the whole 9 yards so my mother / his loving wife could go back to school and get her “HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA” then head straight on to college to get her teaching degree. While she went to college she started her own daycare center (Head-start)… our life was full of endless adventures 24-7 around the clock with both my parents united together and my daddy didn’t play when it came to his wife and his children, everybody in town knew who we belong to.

      So Dr.Liz where you get off with all this old sterile stiff frozen baggage, it doesn’t come from the real world, makes me wonder what kind of life you actually live. I prefer being married to a loving husband who will cherish the ground I walk on and love our children too… I don’t care if his a$$ work for McDonalds cutting up french fries where there is a “WILL WITH GOD AT THE TOP” there is a way.

      POINT: My oldest brother has a degree (i.t. supervisor, program writer etc.., with 3 babies, young wife and can’t even get a job because he is a black-man)… his wife brings home the bread and he’s raising his babies, cooks, cleanse, read and educates them and he continues to interview for jobs all over the US from home, (and your point is!!!)…

      I’m sick and tired of BLING! BLING! BRAIN DEAD AFRICAN AMERICANS with no [email protected] morales and no [email protected] commonsense to counter-act flying BS.

    • @Dr. Liz…

      and please by all means don’t let me forget! my parents never divorced, it was for death do they part, my father crossed over first, my mom is still alive, still madly in-love with my father, still talks to his spirit and celebrates their wedding anniversary over 60 something years every Valentines Day…

    • You have so much disturbance and anxiety in your comment, and I’m not saying what you posted is not happening concerning our black males & females, but I am saying that you can’t put everybody in the same box. My children don’t fit your profile, life and death in the tongue is a powerful thing, but Redbone rebuke that negative spirit over her seeds everyday of the week and I cover my seeds with protection.
      My seeds will be loved for who God created them to be.

      There was a poor-man who lived in the palace and sat at the kings table all of his days… read your word sistah..

    • I think such marriages were Ok many years ago. My mom was a teacher with a Masters Degree & my dad also was a teacher but he’d been to a technical high school for teaching mechanics, building trades,etc Mom had the most education but hin order for him to get a teaching job he had to have a bachelor’s degree so he got one. He & mom were a great match,supported each other, excellent parents,etc but both had a high level of intellectual curiosity & those were in they “way back” days of world War II when blacks still had a work ethic & raised their kids well. I have 2 Masters degrees & am still single because I never met the right guy. I’ve known several women who’ve “married down” as you call it. The marriages didn’t last because the women had the best jobs & made the most money & the guys just wanted a free ride. Some had blue collar jobs, others had minimum wage jobs, & others just quit working & claimed to be “hunting for a better job” while they stayed home all day hunting hoochie mamas!. I’ve made it a point to avoid less educated men for that same reason. I’ve had some suddenly get interested in me when they find out I have my own home in an supper middle class area. I’d rather be single & happy than married to some fool & miserable ! I have single friends that agree.

  7. If she is marrying a good man maybe she is marrying up instead of down. Material things is now the norm rather than the exception what about love and affection?

  8. Peter D. Slaughter on

    ” SANKOFA ” Return to your roots.Both genders need to watch this movie real careful.
    I guess when some are so busy with a career,car and getting money and bling,bling.
    They don’t have to much time for some real culture.

  9. Sorry folks, but I have to agree with Dr. Liz. I have run into TOO many men who have tried to live off of my success like it is their birthright.

    • Lets see…I was at a bball game with the family of a mid level player and when we went back in the locker room area, the groupie crowd was thick!! I’ve been to many wnba games and have never seen a man groupie crowd. I ran into Tamica Catching at a store with her sister and she had a good personality. My cousin plays for the football Arizona Cardinals and he has to keep his list short of women cause very few ladies make 1.3 million! ! I guess men should expect the same right? They would be alone if they did. But Jay Z did right! She sure ain’t a broke hoe. Or a short one. Hmmm Check…

  10. I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Like someone who commented: Not everyone is college material. Just because one partner has a degree and the other does not certainly does not make one superior over the other by virtue if that degree. Unless I am mistaken, marriage is a two person partnership and a sheepskin should not get in the way of what God has brought together.

    • Amen MzObvious!!!

      I get so [email protected] tired of people, especially black-folk who allow themselves to get sold-out on secular white-wash BS… Statistics don’t mean a [email protected] thing… I’m happy for educated black-folks, but white-washed and stuck on stupid is a [email protected] turn off everyday of the week.
      Many of us are black educated prosperous and blind as a cave full of black-bats, its just sickening, and we have the nerve to judge other people and the audacity to think we are qualified to mentor our younger generation.

      All are caught-up in identity-crisis period

  11. Many comments on here have nothing but logical fallacies within the context of providing evidence the study has any relevance. The research does not involve black women hardships when they are in bad relationships or made poor choices. Dr. Liz is a plant to excite adversarial comments. She does not have a black woman’s perspective or else she is not an attractive person. F. Walker most likely has the same problem.

  12. It is very hard to be married to someone who is not on the same intellectual level as you. I had two years of college & was always interested in science, foreign languages and engineering. My husband didn’t value education or learning as I did so we were by nature on different intellectual levels. (He made minimum wage so I felt he was a leach.)

    When we sat down at the dinner table we never talked. We didn’t make each other laugh. I was married to hum for five years. Very sad.

    • @LeahO…

      That was “YOU & HIM”, everybody’s profile is different, people are individuals regardless of their origin, God did not create every man the same… generational ancestry also play a very big part, that’s why people need to research and investigate their partners on a natural & spiritual level before entering into any serious relationship.

  13. LOST!!!! I am so tried of reading BS like this, we as men look for all the wrong things in a woman. Now, woman down sizing because they are smarter they have more book knowledge than there man. Get the hell out of here. STOP WATCHING TV AND BS YOU READ!!!!!

  14. There’s the normal wrong things this article assumes when it describes sisters who marry Black men with less formal education to be “marrying down”. Typical cannon fodder used to further divide African people, when this subject is dealt with swiftly and harshly.

    1. The definition of education is too narrow. Formal education: aka K-12 plus whatever level of college degree one attains; is not a good indicator of someone’s intelligence, nor their ability to be “compatible” with a potential spouse.
    2. Most 4-year plus college degrees (bachelors, masters, PhD’s, etc) do not cover SKILLS necessary to earn more than $40K/year upon obtaining such a degree…but to work for someone, allowing them to make 6 and 7 figure salaries per year…leaving you stuck with an average of $20K plus in student loans, and a starting salary between $9 & $16.00 per hour (the latter amount are for the lucky ones)!

    If you don’t believe me, ask most folks with a liberal arts degree (includes all the social sciences, art, history, English literature, Education, Human Resources, etc.) Even a lot of BA and MBA folks are disappointed…and those aren’t considered part of the liberal arts arena!

    3. Marriage compatibility, among other good qualities, is based upon:
    A. the spiritual & moral character of the individuals involved
    B. common interests
    c. common goals,
    d. the capacity for selflessness and forgiveness.

    4. Your (formal) education level is NOT the same thing as your intellectual level
    5. Your (formal) education level has NOTHING to do with wisdom…which is the ability to apply knowledge.
    6. Formal education, when misused, is just a form of social status…NOT empowerment, nor community improvement in and of itself.

    I could mention more reasons, but stopping and number six should be enough for the author if this article to actually write a whole serious on the miss-interpretation…or should I say…
    “the “miss-education” of America in general…and Black folks in particular…when dealing with the MEANING of the word EDUCATION!

    Now there are plenty of electricians and plumbers making as much money has school teachers and human resource supervisors with masters degrees in their respective fields! Most of the plumbers and electricians, regardless of race…are MEN. Most of the former are women.

    Consequently, if a sister marries and electrician making around $10-$15/hour, and she’s a school teacher with a masters degree…it’s a good chance that husband is bringing home the same, if not more money than she is.

    Now, for those sisters making $50K and up, the same CAN be true if they’re married to a brother that OWNS their plumbing, electrician, catering (etc.), business!

    I could go on and on hear, but I’m sure the point is made. The concept of “marrying down”, as it relates to college education is to create propagate the Eurocentric “aristocracy of the educated” that our ancestor Chancellor Williams warned us about, when dealing with issues affecting African/Black people.

    Don’t fall for this trick.

    I’m not saying sisters are wrong if they want a brother with “higher” education…”I’m just saying they’d better know the MEANING of the word “education” before they determine if they are truly marrying “up” or “down”. If so, they’ll understand that this foolishness about marrying “down” as it is used now, is just to further divide and conquer Black folks via the basic unit of our community…The Black family.



  15. Thelma Williams on

    well let me say this most women do value education more than men of the African American background anyway.There are a myriad of reasons for this.I won’t say that it does not help for both parties to share in the long run similar education and share many things that they like to do together.I can’t imagine why it is considered the desired things to do for educated women to marry those of lesser education than they and are being put down for not doing so.I saw so many of my friends marry those of lower education and desire to achieve and the women had nothing but heartache to show for it.Many blue collar worker makes money but still lacked sensitivity and social graces that would have gone a long way in the overall harmony of the relationship.Having been in a east and west relationship( the way we viewed things)there will be no harmony in the long run.marriage is difficult enough with out education,values and money being obvious obstacles.I wish all well if you can find happiness with someone regardless of diffirences go for it.

    • @Thelma
      Thank you… you said the right word “MYRIAD” reasons for everything. God don’t make mistakes, man does, man create his own laws and rules set-apart from God. I have many friends and associates who are very very educated with degrees & without degrees and all are just as socially stable as anybody else.
      I have a daughter who has a degree very very smart cookie, but sometimes I swear she is a loosey-goosey lost in materialism fabrication & perpertrait…
      African Americans need to be careful how they judge people. Nobody’s no less then the next just because one has an education and the other one doesn’t. I have siblings with college credits, took most of their credits but don’t care about graduation, and they make good money, living large and not haughty… that’s the difference!!

  16. I was in a relationship with a guy who made less money than me, had 2 master’s degrees, but lost everything in a divorce and bad business deal. Even though he was way more intelligent than I, we still argued over things related to finances (or lack thereof): Going out to eat (never wanted me to pay), vacation (never went), groceries (ate practically like a homeless person), etc. I even started taking the bus on the weekends with him to get around (even though I HATE taking public transport). While I do believe that money shouldn’t matter, it does.

    I hid him from my family cause I didn’t have any dating stories to share with them, which is quite pathetic. I even thought that being more sympathetic would cause him to love me more- just the opposite- he viewed it as pitying him and turned away even more. I am not trying to sound high and mighty, but if you want a relationship to last, your mate has got to meet you AT LEAST in the middle. I am tired of going WAY over my comfort zone to accommodate ego, foolish pride, etc. I would rather be alone.

    • @KG…

      Its not so much about education, its about hidden issues from childhood trauma never being addressed, most come from the family background / generational.
      You can have the best education in the world and still have no social status, most people a great majority are a bunch of foney fakes, clueless as all get out. You just have to have eyes and insight to see the real deal. Education has nothing to do with it, I’m a witness, but I won’t go into it because its too [email protected] sicken.. God said let one without sin cast the first stone…wink!! Ain’t nobody better then the next, especially in the sight of God, that’s where it all counts and that’s where it all ENDS…

      • I completely get that KG. My dad always had wondering eyes so when I got married to Kris he had to tell me, “I’m not your father!” I eventually quit accusing. My daughter even said, “Mom you always think he’s looking at other women.”

        Somebody told me that all men do that though. Is that true?

        • @LeahO…

          There are some good men out there. All men don’t have wandering eyes even though many do look at other women, just like other women look at other men.
          Childhood traumas play a grand part in our future, people just love being in denial and finding every excuse in the world to play the blame-game so they won’t have to deal with “SELF”… Many people hide behind education, and education will not get you into the kingdom of God.
          I’m not saying education is a bad thing, people just get their priorities miss-placed.

          Poverty in the mind cause poverty in the spirit-man which extends to the natural realm.

          Downtown Los Angeles, Calif is loaded with skid-row people of all races: you can take them off skid-row, scrub them clean, dress them up, (SEND THEM TO COLLEGE), give them a job, give them a beautiful place to live and eventually they’ll end up back on skid-row because no one has addressed their torn state-of-mind which got them on skid-row in the first place.

          There are rich (educated) people in this world who live on skid-row in their minds. If they lose all their riches and end up in a poverty stricken neighborhood many will commit suicide, that’s a mind thing…
          If you had childhood issues watching your father cheat on your mother and you’ve never had some type of therapy / aka:healing you will always draw characters like your father. You need therapy so you can forgive your father and learn how not to draw men with the same character or miss-treat good men. Traumatic issues just don’t go away, they “MUST” be addressed…
          Too many people get involved in relationships with out learning who their really dealing with, character-traits & behavior patterns etc…
          We get angry with our partners when they are just (acting out / being who they really)… many of us see the issues and still go too far past GO… then we get angry, accusing the whole 9 yrds, but truth be told we saw the behavior in the beginning but chose to ignore it: (oh they won’t do that to me), go get a life because you have issues yourself just for ignoring all the signs.

          You have childhood baggage…

          For what does it profit a man to (GAIN) the whole world and then (LOSE) his soul…

  17. I am sick and tired of this marrying up or down. If the man or woman you are with treat you like a king or queen and has your back, you are the winner. The article is dividing our people instead of uniting our people.

    Krystle, you should be ashamed of yourself.

  18. It all depends on the man. If the man is committed to the idea of marriage and family , If the woman is not looking for a boy toy; it dosen’t matter what he does for a living or his educational back ground.If he is secure in his manhood( loving God don’t hurt either) and is willing to work and communicate, you got a marriage.

  19. The context of the original article implies that “marrying down” has to do with an individual marrying someone without a college degree or having a level of college/school education (aka formal education)less than that particular individual.

    This stems from arrogant, thinking of Western European aristocrats of the middle ages, passed down to European settlers of North America! Given their history of treatment to their peers….which is double-quadruple when it comes to African/Black folks…we (Black/African folks) should have no excuse for having the same mentality!

    Anyone with that shallow of a measuring metric to determine who “Mr. Right” is, and then publicly admit to such, should expect the same public scrutiny & criticism that men get when they publicly disrespect or devalue women.

    All the post we’ve read from women who’ve had bad experiences from hooking up with guys of lesser formal education describe problems that more formal education…and even more money…CAN NOT FIX!

    1. Formal education doesn’t fix men who have ego or self esteem problems.
    2. Formal education doesn’t fix immature men
    3. Men who live off their mamas’, wives’, or girlfriends’, hard work are either lazy, exceedingly selfish, immature, or any combination of the three. Again…character issues that can’t be taught in a college.
    4. College degrees don’t fix psychological baggage that both men and women bring to their relationships.
    4. The money-earning potential of most college degrees is no higher than the money earning potential of highly skilled trades taught in trade schools & community colleges.
    5. Considering Black folks, too few of us actually get college degrees with higher money-earning potential described in #4.

    These concepts prove that women (sisters included) who “marry down” simply marry men too immature for them or who lack the spiritual and moral standards to commit properly to a good marriage, period!

    I have a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering because I was told what electrical engineers do, liked what I was told, and was unable to get the credentials anywhere else but college…and because it was in that small category of degrees worth their cost! However, I had prior navy experience and training as an electronics technician, just in case my degree plans didn’t pan out. So my wife and I would eat and grow together regardless!

    Additionally, none of my college education was relevant to building my marriage, nor marriage of anyone else I know. Most of the so-called social sciences taught in college are steeped in a European theoretical mindset of Sigmun Freud. Anyone who’s done their home work on this guy…especially if they are Black…should be vary wary of this guys theories for understanding a society!

    A mature brother with proper spiritual and moral traits mentioned in my previous response will make sure he’s able to provide a reasonably stable roof over the head of his wife, as a given. He will also have reasonable ambition that will allow him to always grow with his wife, regardless of her academic training & socio-economic standing in society.

    Seeing that we African Americans have the highest percentage of college education in history….but less ownership and control of our own families, farm land, food, clothing, shelter, businesses, and other things that empower a people than we did IN THE 1920s…we’d better understand that the we must be truly MISS-EDUCATED!

    Speaking of “marrying down” in the narrow-minded, Eurocentric context of formal education is to continue to push this self-destructive miss-education!


  20. Thank you Redbone and Victor. It appears you two haven’t fallen for the foolishness that most have fallen for. The truth hurts and as soon as we are willing to accept it, the better we can move forward and shove aside this foolishness.

  21. Does it matter, as long as you both share the same philosophy about marriage, and life in general. I am a bibliophile….I could never date or marry a man who thought reading “was for white people.”

    What about compatibility?

  22. First,for a small percentage of the American
    population, a lot of people are making money by
    “Studying” us and in many other ways. Secondly, shouldn’t we be glad that we’re talking about black men and women marrying each other? And last, we all know that water seeks it’s own level irregardless of a degree.

  23. What people should be looking for in a mate is a decent faithful partner. Degrees don’t mean a thing. It is the character that counts. A partner who is sleeping around could be a serious health issue for the other partner.. So if you have a partner who is faithful call yourself blessed and forget about labels. So of the smartest most successful people I know never graduated from college. Some didn’t even graduate from high school. They had enough smarts to start their own businesses unlike most college grads who end up working for someone else or begging someone else to hire them.

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