Cover: The Changing Relationship between Education and Marriage in the United States, 1940-2000

The Changing Relationship between Education and Marriage in the United States, 1940-2000

Published Oct 15, 2007

by Berna M. Torr

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This analysis examines the changing relationship between education and marital status between 1940 and 2000 for black and white women. In 1940, when gender specialization was high, there was a negative relationship between education and marital status for women. College-educated women were least likely to be currently married and most likely to be never married. By 2000, when gender specialization was low, there was a positive relationship between education and marriage for women. The change in the relationship between education and marriage was observed for both black and white women. However, the transition occurred earlier for black women, consistent with black women’s earlier mass entry into the labor force. In addition, the transition was observed across all marital statuses for black women, but only among the currently married for white women. These changes suggest that the relationship between education and marriage is dependent on the gender-role context.

This paper series was made possible by the NIA funded RAND Center for the Study of Aging and the NICHD funded RAND Population Research Center.

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