Last one down the aisle wins part 2: The data.

In part 1 of this series I promised to go through the statistic shared in this book in a later post.  The key statistic used to justify the arguments in the book is shared upfront in Chapter I (emphasis mine):

        Here’s the key: Don’t Marry Young. In fact, don’t get married until you’re thirty. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, your chances of staying married more than double if you get married after the age of twenty-five. That’s right, the old “50 percent of all marriages end in divorce” statistic is literally cut in half for those who marry for the first time after twenty-five. And after thirty combined years of working with women on the verge of divorce, we’re taking it a step further and saying that you’ll have even better odds the closer you are to thirty.

Wow.  That is a pretty powerful stat if it is true.  But I’ve learned not to trust the headlines and to look at the source before taking this kind of statement on face value.  They don’t reference which NCHS report they pulled their stats from, and so far they haven’t replied to my email Thursday asking them to point me to the specific study they used*.  However, I was able to find a 2002 report from NCHS which covered the topic.  Here is what it shows:

The only way I can torture these results to match the chances of divorce are cut in half if you marry after age 25** claim is if I compare the divorce rate (all races) of those who marry at age 25 or over with the rate of those who marry before age 18.  But their book is specifically targeted to women in their 20s.  From the Product Description on Amazon:

getting a ring on your finger is the last thing you should be thinking about when you’re in your twenties

To show how dogmatic they are on this point and how they use the statistics, take a look at this transcript at the Washington Post*** of a discussion they had with a young woman while promoting the book.  One woman asks:

Suburbs, VA: I’ve been dating my boyfriend since we were 17 (we are 23 now). We went to college apart, have grown as our own people, and still have a great relationship that we know will result in marriage some day. While neither of us are in a rush to get married yet, it seems sort of silly to just wait until we are an arbitrary age (say, 27) before tying the knot, when we are already with the person we’ll marry. Do you see exceptions in this case?

Their answer is that “there’s nothing arbitrary about our recommendation to wait until your late twenties to marry”, and they then repeat the reference to the statistic from the NCHS.  This woman wasn’t asking why she should avoid marrying when 17 or younger, she was asking what was wrong with marrying at age 23.  Not only did they not address her actual question, but they used scare tactics to frighten her away from marrying at her current age.  This makes me suspect that they are either incredibly dishonest or just plain don’t know how to read basic statistics.  Who in the world is counseling women to marry at 17 or younger?  And why would finding that marriage at such a young age often results in divorce cause them to suggest women wait until they are 30, when the data suggests that early 20s has a very similar divorce rate as later 20s?

In considering the 23 year old woman’s actual question, what we are left with is a mild correlation between lower divorce and and a woman marrying in her later 20s vs early 20s.  But correlation doesn’t prove causation.  Just because people who marry later tend to divorce less doesn’t mean if everyone waited to marry there would be less divorce.

The key question is who marries later, and does this group tend to have lower divorce rates not explained by age at first marriage?

Historically those who complete college tend to marry a little later, for fairly obvious reasons.  This gap has narrowed very recently, but any data analyzing divorce rates is backward looking so the gaps of the past are what matter.  The 2002 report referenced above used data from a 1995 study (it is the same NCHS report we looked at here for remarriage rates), so what matters in this case is the trends in place around the 1980s.  This is important because education correlates strongly with lower divorce rates, as Steven P. Martin shows in his research presentation Education and Marital Dissolution Rates in the United States.  He not only found that women with a college degree are far less likely to divorce (pages 10-13), but that the difference in divorce rates isn’t explained by their later average age at marriage (p 14).  The same connection with education and lower divorce rates was observed in the PEW research publication The Reversal of the College Marriage Gap.

In addition, there are other factors correlated with education (and thus later average marriage) which are known to correlate with lower rates of divorce including intelligence and income.

* It is possible they were referencing a different report which I couldn’t find.  If they respond to my request I will do a follow on post.

** They actually make the claim that a woman’s chance of staying married will more than double, not that her chance of divorce will be cut in half.  Since the lowest chance of (all races) staying married for 10 years in the chart is 52%, I’m assuming they actually meant it would cut the likelihood of divorce in half.  I’m not sure where the “more than” came from unless they were only looking at the data for white women.  They could of course make a case for this but they should have clarified the distinction when they made the claim.

*** Also see how they respond to another woman’s concerns about fertility in the same transcript.

This entry was posted in Aging Feminists, Choice Addiction, Data, Feminists, Finding a Spouse, Marriage, Motherhood. Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to Last one down the aisle wins part 2: The data.

  1. Dan in Philly says:

    I always mistrust statistics which are contrary to common sense, and by some happy accident also justify the writer’s pre-conceived notions. A few well placed shots will totally undermine the data you show above:
    1) Remove the number of people who only got married due to unexpected pregnancy (i.e. only consider the ones who got married without pressure by free choice) and I’d expect the age differential to evaporate.
    2) Even if it is true that a couple will be more likely to stay married if the hitch after 25 (or 30), one reason for that is once a man or woman hits 40, their ability and desire to start over with new children goes way down. That is, if a woman marries at age 35, after 5 years she has much less incentive to divorce and remarry (you’d only be trading one set of problems for another). On the other hand, if a 25 year old wants to start over after 5 years, it’s still possible (even if foolish). If a 17 year old tires after 5 years, they’re only 22, and pretty easy to think you have another shot.

    Look at it this way, I think the declining “divorce rate by age of when you got married” would probably also evaporate if you looked at divorce by age, period. A 40 year old will probably have the same odds of divorcing if they married at age 20 than if they married at age 39 (less, in all likelihood).

  2. These types of books simply pander to selfishness, immaturity, and a consequence-free lifestyle for women. It will likely sell well and continue to screw up the lives of women.

  3. A Lady says:

    Wow on their response to the lady asking about fertility. That 78% statistic is confounded by the cohort of women in their mid-30s who chart for ovulation and have optimizing sex precisely because their fertility is declining. So there is an unknown portion of that 78% having sex only during fertile days, which is an intervention, albeit not technically speaking ‘fertility drugz’. Conception likelihood *per cycle* is what you’d be interested in as a woman in her mid-30s and it’s not any 78% past 35 but in fact a fraction of that.

    In a nutshell, the ‘true’ conception rate of women over 35 through the course of a year is nowhere near 78% *unless* you have some women optimizing their intercourse through ovulation charting.

  4. I gave birth at ages 35 and 37. We conceived quite easily and in the case of the first of the two we weren’t even trying. However, and correct me if I’m wrong, I think the fact that I’d already given birth to 3 children in my twenties made a difference.

    I think I read somewhere that the difficulties with fertility are exacerbated when one is attempting to conceive for the first time during the years when fertility is fading. Almost every older woman I know who’s had trouble conceiving later was trying to conceive for the first time. And I know quite a few women who were surprised with unexpected pregnancies in their late thirties and early forties, but they had all given birth previously, thinking they were basically done having children.

    I should probably hunt for stats on that but I’m feeling lazy.

  5. grerp says:

    I wonder if either of them went through fertility treatments because having gone through 5+ years of infertility I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. And I didn’t even do any of the really high science stuff like IVF – just pills, shots, ultrasounds and surgery.

    That 2-week waiting period with its up-and-down hope/mourn cycle is a killer. Do it for long enough and you will want to walk into traffic.

  6. A Lady says:

    Yes, conceiving for the first time in one’s 30s (even before 35) is harder than even one pregnancy (completed) before 30.

    There is no data on whether abortions and miscarriages dent that, for a number of reasons. That is, it’s not known whether getting pregnant *at all* helps one to conceive after 30, or if the pregnancy must be completed (or if there is a distinction to the body between forced removal and legitimate miscarriage).

  7. Paige says:

    There is a correlation between being knocked-up and young marriage. A woman who was knocked-up in her teens or early twenties has already shown a tendency towards impulsiveness and lack of forethought. It is not a huge surprise they would be a greater risk of divorce, since one of the main requirements of marriage is self-control.

  8. Butterfly Flower says:

    Do men really care if a girl is college educated?

    I decided to delay college because I just didn’t feel ready. I’m not sure what I want to do. I might start this fall.

    Meanwhile, I know many girls that have taken out massive loans to finance their “University” experience. By massive I mean 30k yearly tuition. & it’s not like they’re even majoring in anything useful; they’ll all getting liberal arts degrees.

    I keep thinking to myself: but what if they want to get married and start a family? You can’t get a mortgage with that kind-of debt!

    Honestly, I’m not sure if I’d want to marry a man with massive college debt. I’m cautious with my finances; I cannot fathom getting myself six figures in the hole. That’s just irresponsible.

  9. Dan in Philly says:

    Butterfly, as someone who married a HS grad, I would wholehartedly recommend any man to seriously consider it if you intend your wife to be a SAHM. You point out the debt part, and furthermore someone who is willing to forego the “college experience” is probably more in line with the values which in the long run turn out to be more compatible with a traditional LTR religious guy like me, such is my experience at least.

    In addition, I have found most college educated girls to be somewhat similar of thought generally have a low opinion of them. With only a few exceptions, they mostly have been pretty interchangable to me, while the ones who have instead educated themselves (I would never marry someone who wasn’t bright and curious about the world) have many different views and opinions, rather than parroting the usual lazy feminist/post modernist talking points.

    To summarize, I would find a lack of college to be a pretty big selling point to anyone I was giving advice to.

  10. Dalrock says:

    I wanted to note that Mark Richardson of Oz Conservative left a comment on the original thread discussing these same statistics. I held it in moderation for a bit just because I didn’t want the discussion to switch to the stats before I rolled this post out. He linked to a post he did on the same topic back in January, and his post is quite good.

  11. Clarence says:

    Butterfly Flower:

    No, in general we don’t. There’s evidence for middle-middle or upper middle class families with dual degrees and earners staying together more, but Nova and I believe that’s because such cases present a “mutually assured destruction” of living standards in case of divorce, not necessarily a happy and harmonious marriage.
    Check Altes post here for some tips on self-education. Lifelong learning is important as is learning home making skills ( assuming you want to raise a family). Advanced degrees are not important unless you wish to live your life for your love of Astronomy or something. If you must go to college I’d focus on more vocational and other more useful skills.

    http://traditionalcatholicism.wordpress.com/2011/04/25/the-higher-education-bubble/

  12. Lavazza says:

    Dan in Philly: The only problem I can think of is the woman feeling awkward in situations where most or all the other SOs, friends and acquaintances are college educated (“Are you also a lawyer?”) and feeling the need to defend her choice not to or lack of interest in college, and not sharing the same stories etc. as the others. But of course having an inquiring mind and interest in others beats college education hands down.

  13. Doomed Harlot says:

    It all depends on your priorities. My husband and I both started with about $90K a piece in educational debt — for a grand total of about $180K. This has never caused us a moment’s pause for two reasons: (1) Having a good education was more important to us than owning a house at 25. (2) That good education has allowed us to command healthy incomes, such that we have been able to make our loan payments, eventually build a nice house, and live very comfortably.

  14. Dan in Philly says:

    Lav, I have noticed the same thing. Of course, this is typical of woman’s cattiness, as they love to make each other feel small when they really feel inferior (guys usually do this too, but in more physical ways). I have found that most college educated women feel the need to work to justify the money and time they spent on their degree, and generally feel inferior to the SAHM who is pretty happy with her life, and tend to use the whole college thing as a way to hurt them.

    Then again, some of these college women are wise enough to see the SAHM made a better choice than they did, and openly say so. These are the minority.

    Also, some say they “couldn’t do what SAHM’s do” and are glad to get out of the house to work. While this attitude is honest, I would not wish to be married to such a woman, as I see them turning their backs on the most important people in her life, just because it’s easier to get out.

  15. Dan in Philly says:

    DH, that’s a lot of debt. I’m glad it’s worked out for you. I would be very concerned about advising my daughter of such a course, because if she decided she wanted to have kids and was able to do so, the odds she would be able to stay at home with them would be very very slim indeed.

    Most yuppie types I know who got into a lifestyle where they got used to 2 high octane incomes had the choice made for them once the rugrats arrived, no matter what their personal preference might have been. This tended to get rationalized away, of course (“I’m setting a good example for my daughter” vs. “Whoops, my daughter is being raised by someone else!”), but I don’t think they thought through such things when deciding on getting themselves into such debt in the first place.

  16. Doomed Harlot says:

    Oh, Dan in Philly. We don’t work to try to justify the time and money we spent on our degrees. We got our degrees (in part) so we could work.

    My father has a hoity-toity degree from Harvard College. My SAHM mother has only a high school degree. She is a brilliant autodidact who can mostly hold her own with Mr. Harvard. But . . . she feels the loss of never having the experience of having her ideas critiqued, her writing ruthlessly criticized, her thoughts responded to in a seminar discussion, her ideas developed in intellectual setting. And she has experienced the very real loss of opportunity to make her way in the world aside from secretarial jobs at various times. Far from feeling inferior to or resentful of SAHMs, many of us feel indebted to our SAHM mothers who made damn sure we went to college!

  17. A Lady says:

    I have yet to encounter anyone personally from a four-year uni of any kind who actually had that experience w/r/t college. They were not challenged at all, despite the price tags (ranging from free via scholarship to parent/grandparent-paid to student loans).

    I think it’s another hamster wheel spin.

  18. Rum says:

    Marriages where the woman is obese have low divorce rates. Same reason if woman is older.

  19. Butterfly Flower says:

    @Lavazza:

    I’m intelligent. I’m smart enough to realize Higher Education isn’t always the wisest investment. With a 100k capital I could start a small business, purchase land, just stick it on a five year CD and let the interest build up… Don’t worry, I know how to hold my own while mingling among the educated. Especially since I like to taunt smug graduate students. “What are you going to do with your MBA? Awh, how sad. I hope you find a job soon…”

    Anyway, I think if a mother “needs” to work full time; obviously she and her husband made some bad financial decisions in the past. Bought too much house, had a six figure wedding extravaganza, earned a useless college degree.

  20. Dalrock says:

    @Doomed Harlot

    She is a brilliant autodidact who can mostly hold her own with Mr. Harvard. But . . . she feels the loss of never having the experience of having her ideas critiqued, her writing ruthlessly criticized, her thoughts responded to in a seminar discussion, her ideas developed in intellectual setting.

    Does she know starting her own blog is free?

  21. Kaei says:

    @ Butterfly Flower
    A university education is not a great investment if you goal is marriage. But it is a good investment if your goal is in some lines of work. A university degree does not have to equal six figures of debt, and not all degrees are useless.
    I think it is pushed too much, and way too many uncertain eighteen-year-olds are pushed to go to university no matter how much it costs or what they want to do (hence the massive numbers of BS humanities/social science degrees), but that doesn’t mean it is worthless.
    If you want to be an engineer, you need university. And engineering is a great field of work for many people. If you want to be a nurse, you need a university degree. And society sure needs nurses. Same goes for some other areas.
    But I think you’re going about it the right way – if you want to get into a line of work for which a degree is a necessity, or even just a big help, then it can be worth going. If you don’t know what you want to do, better to go to work now, and go back to school later if you decide you do want to do something that requires a degree.
    And self-education is valuable no matter what you want to do with yourself.

    I think ‘not getting a degree because you plant to stay home with the kids’ is a bad reason though. It’s good to work a bit, if only to understand the stresses of the other side. It’s also good to have some background and transferable skills (not necessarily degree-related, just something) because no matter what you plan, you never really know. Some people have more trouble getting married or pregnant than they expect (even if trying hard). Sometimes husbands die or become crippled.
    You don’t have to work, and you definitely don’t have to get a degree, but it’s worth developing some sort of workskills, even if you’re just filling the time until you become a professional mother.

  22. Dalrock, thanks for the link. I’ve linked to both of your posts from my site.

    I think the women who wrote the book are kidding themselves if they think that spending a whole decade aimed at living an independent lifestyle is going to help prepare women for marriage. More likely it will just make a whole lot of women feel that they are losing something when they finally do marry – the jolt of becoming a wife and mother will be that much harder to adjust to. The exceptions will be those women who have lived the single lifestyle for so long, and found it ultimately unsatisfying and who wish for something more.

  23. PuffsPlus says:

    Actually, she’s right about the age thing. I’ve seen these stats quoted before, going back 10+ years. They show consistent trends: marriages are much more stable if 1) partners know each other at least 2 yrs before marrying, 2) both partners are at least 24 years of age, and 3) the bride has finished college. Educational attainment on the bride’s part is actually a bigger predictor of success in marriage. I think the biggest “sweet spot” agewise for people getting married is age 25-28. The founder of eHarmony advises that men are finished maturing around age 28, too, actually.

    So it does make a lot of sense if you are a woman in today’s America to put off actual marriage until your mid-to-late 20s, but that also means you should start husband shopping in your late-teens-to-early-twenties. You want to know your prospective marital partners 2-3 years at least before you walk down the aisle.

    I see that the authors of this book also seem to encourage women to wait until their actual thirties to marry, which of course is riskier fertility-wise.

  24. PuffsPlus says:

    I have to say, reading the WaPo transcript of the chat with the authors doesn’t make them sound completely whacked at all. I don’t see that what they are advising young women to do is really so awful EXCEPT that they are pushing the idea of not getting married–or even seriously looking for a husband–until you are at least 30. If they were putting forth the message of “use your early-to-mid 20s to develop yourself and your career but if you want kids, try to marry before 30” rather than “use all of your 20s to develop yourself, your career and don’t worry about finding a mate until 30”, then I would agree.

    Nowhere do they mention the stat that having had at least one child before age 33/34 (IIRC) cuts a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer dramatically, but that this positive effect diminishes strongly the later a woman waits until she has her first child. For a woman, having children starting in your mid-to-late 30s does not confer that protective effect against breast cancer that having your first child in your 20s does.

  25. Kai says:

    They didn’t seem like whackjobs in the transcript, but they did seem very closed. Every question asked was twisted around to fit their argument. Even directly contradictory ones were not answered as asked.
    They praised a woman who said she had had all sorts of adventures she had to give up when she had her first child at 28, but failed to recognise that if she was a mother at 28, she probably married back at 25-26 – and apparently still got in plenty of adventure.
    I agree with the message that you shouldn’t marry until you feel ready, but they seem to be really pushing ‘even if you feel ready, you are mistaken and you will not really be ready until the date we said you will be’ instead of a ‘different people are ready at different ages’.
    I also disagree with prioritising having children over finding the right person. I don’t think you should ever give up and marry the one you have just because you might not find another one in time to have kids. If you’re being overly picky, then sure – have another think, and try to decide what is ‘enough’ instead of looking for the dream-guy that doesn’t exist. But if there really are issues in the relationship, then it would be better to break up and run out of time and never have kids than to stick with it, and add the stress of kids, and raise the children in an unhappy home.

    I think there’s a little too much focus on having children to fulfill yourself. I think that if you want kids, you owe it to your future children to find them the right co-parent, and ensure you two have settled as many of your issues as possible before you reproduce. If you run out of time, that may well hurt, and you may regret it. But better you feel regret than your children feel neglect. You owe it to your potential children to not bring them into the world unless you are really ready to fully care for them – and if that means never, well you can’t hurt them if you don’t create them.

  26. Anonymous Reader says:

    The statistics are dishonestly used, plain and simple, and the issue of including “married prior to 18” in the data has been covered already. It looks like an entire book of rationalization to me: “Since you are 25 and single, let’s celebrate You for five more years”. This is simply foolish, for reasons that have been bouncing all around the web. It’s exactly the wrong advice to give to women at this time in history, and note well that the authors have to cook their data to sell their ideas.

    As to “education”…
    Post-secondary education, aka “college” is a bubble in the US. The only way to make a degree return on the investment is to (a) hold the investment cost as low as possible and (b) choose a degree with a higher than average potential payoff.

    That means borrowing $100,000 for a liberal arts degree from Columbia will not pay off. It’s overpriced for what is received, and increasingly liberal arts degrees are what high school diplomas used to be…a way to get an entry level job in government or a business, at the median income for a 22 – 25 year old. That’s under $50K/year at this time, and thus it will take a very long time to pay off any substantial debt.

    (And this is another reason for anyone starting out in life to be very cautious with
    credit of any kind, not just student loans)

    People who have access to grants, to scholarships, to reduced tuition costs in any way can affect (a) to their benefit. People who major in degree fields that have some demand affect (b).

    So, for example, working part time jobs to pay cash for tuition while going to a state university in chemistry, engineering, computer science or mathematics has a better chance to pay off because it tilts both (a) and (b) in the favor of the student. The caveat being that those degrees require a higher than average intelligence.

    Frankly, I think a lot of young men would be better off spending a year or so becoming certified as welders, and then specializing in something exotic such as heliarc, than dinking around with college. A man can become independent and own his own business before he’s 25.

  27. V10 says:

    @ Butterfly Flower

    The danger is equating intelligence with official pieces of paper. There’s a correlation, sure, but the later is merely a convenient measure, not a requirement.

    PUAs will assert that men don’t care about brains, and that in fact it’s a liability for women. Arguably yes, in short-term relations where all that matters is fun and sex. But I cannot imagine myself tolerating being tied to someone who cannot keep up to me mentally. Likewise, I can’t respect (or love) a person who fills their days with sloth and idleness; I like to just veg out some weekends, but I don’t make it a lifestyle.

    Many assert that a woman who devotes herself to earning degrees and establishing a career with the primary purpose of attracting a husband is wasting her time and money. Probably. Having gone through the College Industrial Complex myself multiple times I’m very cynical about it’s worth, to men and women.

    But I do find it an attractive quality if a woman has demonstrated a desire to better herself intellectually (education) and fiscally (career). It’s not her degree or job title that is attractive, but what they say about her personality.

    Mind you, what she studies or what her career is can also be a turn-off or turn-on, and this is subjective. Sociology, X-studies, or anything beyond a B of A in a liberal arts is a bad sign. Human resource personnel are my personal pick for who should first against the wall when the revolution comes. Plenty of degrees and careers inspire indifference. A business admin undergrad or a junior lab technician is a positive sign that she’s got a good head on her shoulder. And if she’s in a field that’s unusual, like say robotic engineering, that certainly arouses us mentally early on.

    Let’s not kid ourselves, men are primarily attracted by appearance. Education and career, or more accurately intellect and drive, are secondary attractors, like hobbies and interests. But that does not mean they are unimportant. Short-term, it gives men more chances to evaluate you positively; uninteresting degrees or jobs, like interests and hobbies, won’t necessarily sink you, and best case we’ll rate you a little* higher because you’re interesting to be with. And any rational man looking for a long term relationship or marriage knows that looks fade (hopefully with grace), and will certainly want to know what else you bring to the table.

    * Emphasis on ‘a little’, say 1 point on the 10 point scale. Intellectual arousal is a supplement, not a substitute, for physical arousal.

  28. Butterfly Flower says:

    What do you guys think of the “Stay at Home Daughters” movement?

    http://newsfeed.time.com/2010/12/08/meet-the-selfless-women-of-the-stay-at-home-daughters-movement/

    “Young women should not go away to college. They are better off living at home with their parents until they get married.”

    I guess I’m an unintentional Stay at Home Daughter. I’m a young woman not in college living with her parents in a conservative Catholic household. I want to get married young and start a family. I have doubts about attending college because I feel like it doesn’t relate to my dreams. I was glad to learn I wasn’t the only girl with these thoughts.

    Anyway, all the feminist sites and blogs flipped out when they heard about the SAHD movement. http://bitchmagazine.org/article/house-proud

    Um, what exactly is wrong with women pursuing traditional roles? The feminists’ grievances against the movement make little to no sense. “How dares these women pursue a lifestyle that involves getting married young and becoming mothers!” “Men shouldn’t aspire to marry a submissive traditional wife! That’s sexist!”

  29. PuffsPlus says:

    “That means borrowing $100,000 for a liberal arts degree from Columbia will not pay off.”

    Actually, it probably will. Columbia is #20 for all colleges in terms of offering the best return on your educational investment. See http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2010/06/30/top-20-colleges-that-offer-best-return-on-investment/ .

    Getting a liberal arts degree from a lesser-known school definitely might not pay off, though.

  30. PuffsPlus says:

    @Kai: “They praised a woman who said she had had all sorts of adventures she had to give up when she had her first child at 28, but failed to recognise that if she was a mother at 28, she probably married back at 25-26 – and apparently still got in plenty of adventure.”

    Yeah, I had that same thought when I read that.

  31. dragnet says:

    I’m not sure I’ve ever seen so much care and effort devoted to pure nonsense. So much money and “research” spent propping up ideas that fly in the face of science and common sense. The only solace here is that they aren’t selling today’s women anything they aren’t already buying, as Dalrock said.

    But who will convince the men? What man is going to buy the notion that there is no discernible difference in getting pregnant at 34 than at 24? What man is going to think it’s okay to just be a mere accessory in his partner’s life (knowing how disposable accessories usually are)? How many men are actually going to buy into this?

    I’m guessing far fewer men than women, and therein lies the problem.

  32. Elizabeth Smith says:

    So women follow all of this bad advice and then wonder where all of the good men went? Sorry honeys the problem isn’t just with men, it’s with you too.

    1 – Carousel ridding (promiscuity), choosing thugs and bad boys over good family men
    2 – Focusing on college and career way too much
    3 – Marrying late and conceiving late
    4 – Entitlement mentality, narcissiscism and over-inflated ego
    5 – Journeying in “finding yourself” throughout your 20’s and even 30’s on occasion

    Tell me how on earth is this sustainable? You do all of these bad choices and then expect a perfect man to appear?

  33. Anonymous Reader says:

    PuffsPlus, that is a backward looking article, and thus it is risky to apply it forward. The BA degree in some fields is essentially worthless. I know more than one coffee shop employee with some kind of BA, often in English lit, or “communications”, or one of the “studies”. An advanced degree, typically an MA, is all but required now and even then the job market for such is flooded.

    The BA is basically a proxy for some intelligence tests combined with an attendance award, and grade inflation has eroded even that value. If someone truly loves literature or history or art and desperately wants to work in that field or teach, then I suppose they may as well pursue it. But the days of getting any old BA and walking into a low level manager position are gone, with the possible exception of food service management. Yes, that’s right, the day manager of your local Denny’s likely has a bachelor’s degree. Ask that person what they earn. It ain’t $100K, I guarantee.

    A BA in Italian just isn’t going to provide much of a return on investment, even from Columbia, and if it cost $100,000 to obtain (the price of a starter house in some parts
    of the US) it offers negative return.

  34. TLIMS says:

    I won’t get into how unwise it is for people to get into huge debt over a useless degree because we’re already seeing the ramifications of that.
    Please keep in mind that the following pertains to the 35+ crowd I know and is probably not relevant to the younger crowd.

    Believe it or not there are many men (at least hereabouts) who value a career woman over a traditional woman. These guys actually target places where career women hang-out so that they can live the double-income lifestyle, McMansions and all.
    To my amazement, I know men (with descent paying professions) who place women’s income potential at the top of their priority list as long as the woman scores average in the looks department.
    I know several couples like this who later experienced the fertility issues. Without knowing every detail, one of the couples didn’t even try to conceive and just went straight to the adoption process (they were both past 40 when they married). Frankly, it doesn’t appear that the guys I know in this situation cared if they had any kids or not. However, other women I know who had fertility issues were only in their 20s.

    I think that while women have been pushed to the unrealistic goal of trying to have it all at once, a lot of men (and other women) that I know fully expect women to do it all. I’m not sure I’ve figured out the exact reasons, but I do suspect it’s partly because these men were raised by working women and/or they are glad to play into consumerism. But, I do know that SAHMs get a lot of flak for not working.

    The whole push for women to get degrees began because it became too risky for women to do otherwise. She’d forego a degree, marry young, have children during her most physically attractive period so that in the end- she’d be left behind for a younger model. Without any social pressures to remain married and with no-fault divorce, what insurance would they have that their husbands won’t walk out on them when their bodies stop being “hot and tight”?

    Now, I’m not arguing that women should go into the career path without full knowledge of what they may be giving up, they should. The authors are doing a disservice to women by presenting only one side. But, I venture to say that the women purchasing this book are buying what they want to hear.

    BTW, I also know several women (and men) who focused on careers and are now in their 40s, single and childless (I don’t think any of them started out this way by choice). Most weren’t carousel riders at all, just very picky (both of the sexes were).
    At this point though, without the stigma of yesteryear, they all seem to have come to terms with remaining single and living independently. It remains to be seen if they change their outlook down the road.

  35. Julie says:

    In response to the following:

    I made a lot of these mistakes and yet formed a great marriage in my late 20s.
    *Choosing bad boys (not sleeping with them however) showed me beyond a shadow of a doubt that alphas are overrated. They cheat, they are often not romantic, dependable or empathic. If I didn’t know this from personal experience, I doubt I’d be as happy as I am with my greater beta.
    *I went to college and grad school–the latter is where I met my husband. Yes, it was tough being single as long as I was, however, I paid off my student loans before I married. I also had enough earning power to put my husband through the rest of his schooling, even having a baby before he was done. I have no fear of divorce, having made as great a match as I did but it is reassuring to know that I could support our family if my husband could not.

    *Marrying late. Yes, not ideal, but in my case, especially with the bad marriage model I grew up with, I was in a much better place to make a great decision in my late 20s vs. my early 20s. Having seen the pain of divorce in a family, I count the pain of protracted singleness to be a small price to pay for marrying well in the end. Conceiving late–not ideal but I had no problems. I was far more self-confident as a mom than I would have been at a younger age–also, I fully appreciate being home. Having had a career, I don’t idealize it.

    *Entitlement and narcissism. Yes, I think I had an inflated view of my own desirability. Like most women, I should have been encouraged to be open to a wider variety of men. Turned out OK for me, but it might not have.

    *Finding yourself. I think education/traveling/volunteering/working/ and just living as a single do have value. I do think it’s made me a better and more capable wife. For example, I handle all the finances in our house, thus freeing up my husband to focus on his work. I believe I am more content being home, in the small city where we live, not traveling much, BECAUSE I’ve been there and done so many other things already.

    “So women follow all of this bad advice and then wonder where all of the good men went? Sorry honeys the problem isn’t just with men, it’s with you too.

    1 – Carousel ridding (promiscuity), choosing thugs and bad boys over good family men
    2 – Focusing on college and career way too much
    3 – Marrying late and conceiving late
    4 – Entitlement mentality, narcissiscism and over-inflated ego
    5 – Journeying in “finding yourself” throughout your 20′s and even 30′s on occasion

    Tell me how on earth is this sustainable? You do all of these bad choices and then expect a perfect man to appear?”

  36. Kai says:

    Regarding ‘Stay at home daughters’:
    The issue isn’t with a woman who has been raised to make her own choices deciding to stay home to save money, and then marry relatively young. You have the freedom and choice to determine that that will be a fulfilling life for you, and that’s fine.
    The issue is when girls are raised to believe that their only possible purpose is as servant and mother, and they are not permitted to aspire to anything else. Girls raised in these families do not have the ability to make a reasoned choice about the matter – they have been taught that any personal aspirations are evil, and that it is inappropriate for them to have any interest in education or anything else.
    I advocate raising women to understand that they can do most anything they choose (within capabilities), but not everything they choose. All choices come with tradeoffs, and they need to understand what they are giving up in order to get what they want.
    Raising women to believe they have no worth on their own and that if they have any different goals in life they are wrong and evil (not just atypical) is not right.
    And while I support your right to make your own decisions, the girls raised with these ideas simply do not have the option or background to decide for themselves.

  37. Pingback: Why we need to stop telling women to settle. | Dalrock

  38. Stephenie Rowling says:

    Kai
    Had you seen how feminists raise their kids? They teach them to hate housework and traditional gender roles and that their sense of worth is how much sex did the explored and how much education they are getting, many don’t learn to cook, they are indoctrinated to reject pink and traditional feminine toys, to hate women with lots of kids or SAHM, that motherhood is overrated, that they shouldn’t sacrifice anything for anyone and that their needs are first, always, than being nice agreeable and pleasant is a sign of weakness and the only good women are the ones that act like men and reject traditional gender roles, that women are oppressed all the time and that men are overrated sex toys at best and potential abusers at worst.. Are this girls any better equipped to choose to have a traditional life if they want to? Feminists don’t give choices they just give ONE choice.
    So please stop acting like raising your daughter to share your values is the evilest thing to do. Feminists are doing the same, the few ones that are breeding. They complain about this girls because this are competition for them, they know very well that between a career ball busting harpy and a housewife a lot more men will choose the housewife, its not a noble feeling of protecting the girls is just institutionalized cattiness.

  39. Kai says:

    @ Stephenie,
    Yes, that is characteristic of the extreme far end ‘feminist and nothing but’ mother. That is not a lot of mothers. Not even a lot of so-called ‘feminist’ mothers. Most feminists are much more moderate, just as most Christians are far more moderated. And yes, that extreme is wrong too.
    It is always wrong to raise a child to believe that they have no options other than what their mother did – regardless of what their mother did. Both extreme ends are usually wrong. The fact that the other extreme is wrong as well is not proof that the one extreme is right.
    A good parent teaches their child that they can choose the life they want, but that they will have to accept the tradeoffs involved. A good parent encourages their children to try a number of different things, and pursue the ones for which they have interest and aptitude. A good parent instills core values of decency and respect, but allows a child to choose his/her own way in life. A good parent may disagree and talk with a child, but ultimately supports a child’s reasonable decision, whether it is choosing to marry young and have kids or to become a PhD and teach university. A good parent can be the voice of wisdom from experience and point out what a child might not yet realize (if you’re in school until you’re 30, there’s a good chance you’ll never have kids/if you stay home with your kids, you will not be able to take up your career at the same level as those who stayed in), but a good parent does not put a value judgement on the advice.
    I do not speak for all feminists or all women or anyone but myself.
    I believe that it is wrong to raise a child to believe that if they are female they must not like pink and they must never be nice. I believe it is wrong to raise a child to believe that if they are female they are not designed to do math or fix trucks and they are permitted to have interests from only an approved list.
    People are different, and often, children do not come out exactly like the parents. Good parents recognise and encourage that.
    I do not feel threatened by girls raised to be perfect housewives. I am not in the market for a husband and competing. I believe many of those girls will be happy. But I believe that some of those girls would had scholastic aptitude and would have revelled in higher education. I believe some of those girls really hate cooking and would rather fix a car. I believe that the smashing of opportunities by their parents is wrong.
    And from me and no-one else, this is a question of morality – not competitive cattiness.

  40. Leon Battista Alberti says:

    Dalrock, I really love your blog, writing, and your willingness to get the right information.

    I just wanted to add to this that part of the right age for marriage is dependent on when the average person “grows up.” Definitions for adulthood vary but adolescence and now this second adolescence occurring in the 20’s is just rationalization for teenagers and 20-year-olds to still be children and to delay being adults. I’d define childhood as a state of solipsism/narcissism: all problems derive from outside sources, personal actions have no affect on those around you or society; observance of reality is purely based on self-referential experience and emotion; tendency to project without being cognizant of it; defers personal responsibility; demands rewards, rescue, respect and/or acknowledgement without offering something to deserve it. Adulthood is the opposite. If 18-year-olds could get to that point at that age, they’d be able to deal with marriage successfully at 18. It’s hamster-time to think that adulthood purely comes from a genetic, bio-chemical switch. Such a position is just another example of deferring personal responsibility.

    I find it to be this delay that contributes to many of our current problems. A nation of adult-aged children will collapse from many directions.

    [D: Very well put. Thanks for your kind words and welcome to the blog.]

  41. Kai says:

    Sadly, it’s not just 18-year-olds. Our entire society is now focused on self-fulfillment (to the exclusion of sacrifice for others), and finding anyone but the self to blame. How surprising is it that a nation of irresponsible narcissists is having issues?

  42. Pingback: Why we need to stop telling women to settle

  43. Stephenie Rowling says:

    Kai
    It might be, but this moderate feminists usually don’t get their noses into how other people raise their kids, whether they agree or not. The issue is that feminists speakers are always looking for reasons to look like enlightened heros, but they really don’t care for any woman that doesn’t follow certain pattern. And they might not be the majority but then they bitch about things they don’t like the moderate don’t defend the women attacked so is hard to see nothing but their hateful remarks as the “face” of the movement.
    And ultimately the reason 95% of the people decide to breed is to pass onto a new generation their wisdom. So telling other people what kind of parenthood is the right one is intrusive, IMO.

  44. Pingback: Linkage is Good for You: Close-Up Edition

  45. Pingback: Why a woman’s age at time of marriage matters, and what this tells us about the apex fallacy | Dalrock

  46. Really interesting data, great post again.

  47. Pingback: Sexonomics: Odds of Divorce | Free Northerner

Please see the comment policy linked from the top menu.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s