The job market is killing the marriage market

Last March, there were some studies out indicating that 15 percent of currently-single people may never get married. Since then, we’ve seen new data that singles make up half the U.S. population (first time ever, apparently), and now there’s this: we may have a basic economic explanation for the marriage market. That is to say, we can explain this via supply and demand.

Here’s the bouncing ball:

  • Pew did a study and asked people why they hadn’t been married yet.
  • The top two responses were “haven’t found the right person” and “don’t feel financially responsible.”
  • Digging deeper, the No. 1 “find the right person” quality for a woman is the man having a steady job.
  • In fact, eight of 10 women listed “steady job” as a major want.
  • The flip side for a man seeking a woman is “attitudes about raising children.”
  • (That’s interesting in and of itself, but that’s for another post.)
  • Problem is, the number of employed men per 100 women has dropped from 139 to 91 from 1960 to now.

Put that all together and here’s what you have: the labor market isn’t great, the hiring process isn’t great, and peak-earning-potential men are leaving the workforce rather than chasing the next thing.

That’s making it so that less men are employed across 100 women, and women find that job stability to be essential.

In short, the job market is killing the marriage market. Kind of an interesting tie between the two, right?


Ted Bauer