UNITED STATES—Higher education levels seem to have a beneficial effect on marriage and a negative effect on divorce rates. According to Pew Research, college-educated women are more likely to experience a long-lasting marriage. The average survival rate of college-educated wives in their marriages is at least 20 years.

Researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics found that 78 percent of college-educated women remain married after two decades. Still, only 40 percent of women with a high school diploma lasted two decades into their marriages.

Why College Education Strengthens Marriages

Although the reasons college education seems to strengthen marriage weren’t addressed in the mentioned research, it’s relatively easy to extrapolate. College graduates typically marry later, so they bring greater maturity to the marriage.

College students also tend to stay more problem solving-focused. They don’t steer clear of marriage counseling, developing better communications, and getting therapy for dealing with conflict when necessary.

The findings include the discovery of a distinct gap in marriage strategies of college-educated and less-educated adults. More college graduates support marriage and family life while other adults don’t marry as often. About 65 percent of college-educated adults eventually marry, while just 53 percent of less-educated people invest in marriage.

The same holds true for college-educated men. About two-thirds of men who’ve earned a bachelor’s degree can expect their marriages to last at least 20 years, which compares to 50 percent of less-educated men. Men with a higher level of education are also more likely to get married in the first place than their counterparts among rank-and-file men who work in blue-collar fields.

Divorce and marriage breakups were once the relatively exclusive option of wealthy Americans. Divorcing often required financial, social, and intellectual resources to win the legal case and go against traditional cultural attitudes. Social capital was required to survive unscathed by negative chatter, gossip, and judgmental attitudes.

American sociologist William Goode predicted that if divorce laws were loosened, the poorer and lesser-educated classes would immediately capitalize on the increased ability to divorce without shame. That seems to be the case as more and more people without a higher education increase the divorce rate while highly educated people embrace marriage.

Marital Events Increase with Education

Education and marital events have strong causative ties that operate independently of the factors behind the current trend of increased divorce rates. Societal changes over the past 50 to 100 years would seem to favor an increased divorce rate. These changes to society norms include:

  • The rise of the women’s liberation movement
  • Gay marriages and acceptance of same-sex cohabitation
  • Increases in women’s workforce
  • Gradual lessening of the gender pay gap
  • Changes in the perception of gender roles
  • The sexual revolution
  • Availability of no-fault divorce
  • Decrease in the stigma of divorce.

Marriage patterns are changing based on the age and level of educational attainment of the couples. Women tend to marry somewhat younger than men, but both men and women with more schooling opt for marriage’s traditional benefits. Men and women who didn’t finish high school have the lowest likelihood of getting married than any group surveyed.

Lawyers and Divorce Rates

A divorce lawyer worth their salt will always explore whether a marriage could be saved. A compassionate and empathetic attorney can be your best bet for saving your marriage. However, if the marriage is beyond saving, you don’t have to feel shame or a sense of failure. An attorney can help you negotiate a no-fault divorce or explore at-fault options if they result in a better outcome for you.