The new Pew study has gotten a great deal of attention. Suddenly everyone is noticing that as women continue to delay marriage their prospects are getting less rosy. One finding which should come as no surprise (but nevertheless surprised many) is that women strongly prefer to marry men with jobs. The problem is, single men with jobs are getting more and more scarce. Now that we’ve moved from a marriage based family structure to a child support based family structure, unmarried men are now working like women.
To understand the real world impact of this on the marriage market, check out this interactive chart Pew put together showing the ratio of 25-34 year old single men to 25-34 year old single women in different metro areas. Click on the tab for the number of employed men for every 100 women and then hover over the metro area of your choice. According to the chart here in DFW there are only 85 employed single men for every 100 single women.
The obvious flaw in the chart is the age ranges examined. It would make more sense to have different age ranges for men and women given the differing realities of fertility and attractiveness. Still, opening the age range to include older single men wouldn’t help all that much, since older single men are less likely to have any earnings than younger single men are. Also, there tends to be a reason a man with a decent job reaches a certain age without marrying. For the most part, they either weren’t attractive or they weren’t interested in marriage. Lastly, feminism has convinced large numbers of women that it would be weird for them to marry a man who was more than a few years older than them. My own purely anecdotal observation is that by the time a woman starts to expand her search to include potential husbands ten years older than her, her fertility window is all but closed.
There is also a great deal of foolishness still circulating around the modern marriage market. Pamela Engel at Business Insider looked at Pew’s interactive chart and rationalized that women have the upper hand, since men must value the same traits in a wife that women value in a husband:
Men are going to have a much harder time than women in finding a partner who’s employed. There doesn’t appear to be a single metro area that’s shown on Pew’s map where employed, unmarried women outnumber employed, unmarried men.