UDQuickly Home My Old House Snapshots UD Magazine
Send a Class Notes

@DayMag

UD Magazine apps
Naomi Cahn

Marriage — the new marker of social class?

3:36 PM  Feb 13th, 2012
by Shannon Shelton Miller

In 1970, there wasn’t much difference in the likelihood of marriage for men and women based on their level of education. By 2011, although marriage rates had dropped nationwide, they declined the least among the college-educated.

Those were among the statistics Naomi R. Cahn, a law professor at George Washington University, shared as she discussed the effect of socioeconomic class on marriage and family formation during a Feb. 9 talk sponsored by the School of Law and the women’s and gender studies program.

Her lecture “Family Classes: What Really Happened to the American Family?” examined how middle class women are approaching marriage and family formation differently from their counterparts in the working class, as increased income and career opportunities resulting from higher education has made women more selective. Although college-educated women marry later, they’re less likely to divorce.

They’re also likely to marry a man of a similar socioeconomic and educational background.

“Women are becoming choosier about whom they’re willing to marry,” she said.

That’s a strategy, however, that doesn’t translate well to those in the working class, Cahn said. There, higher percentages of men are written off as unmarriageable because of factors such as unemployment, substance abuse, mental illness and imprisonment, leading to decreased marriage rates and higher nonmarital birth rates.

It’s problematic, Cahn said, when marriage and its benefits become limited to the upper classes. She said addressing economic inequality should be among the solutions explored for working class men and women.

“Marriage should not be a marker of class,” Cahn said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook


*

  • sand volleyball
  • Banned books at UD by Larry Burgess
  • Mary of Cana statue by Larry Burgess
  • 042309robin
  • snow-covered Albert Emanuel Hall
  • Sidewalk repair at STewart and Brown by Larry Burgess
  • Fire safety training in KU Plaza by Larry Burgess
  • tulips
  • Students walking through windy snow squall by Larry Burgess
  • Mother and daughter walking the dog on campus by Larry Burgess
  • frozen tree branches
  • 022609ashwednesday
  • Clearing snow by hand on Lawnview by Larry Burgess
  • Marianist Hall Chapel by Larry Burgess
  • Faculty staff picnic tent is assembled on Central Mall by Larry Burgess
  • stockings hanging from 421 Alberta
  • honor code pinning
  • DSC_1419 copy