In July, I noted the curious absence of men in the study of fertility. I’d become interested in this issue because of the debate over whether HECS was having a negative effect on rates of childbirth among university-educated women. I concluded that the main cause of low birthrates in this group was the absence of husbands. One of my suggestions, due to the fact that female graduates significantly outnumber male graduates, was that:
University educated women being more willing to marry men without degrees would make a difference…
An article in yesterday’s Australian, based on a study I unfortunately haven’t yet been able to obtain, suggests that this was not good advice.
WOMEN with tertiary educations who choose as a partner men who have not finished high school are 10 times more likely to separate or get divorced than women whose education is less than or equal to their partner’s.
10 times more likely! But
where men had the tertiary qualifications and women did not complete high school — did not demonstrate an increased risk of subsequent marital instability and, if anything, showed greater than average stability.
This is the double crunch facing facing university-educated women Too few suitable men to begin with, and then some of the already insufficient pool of university-educated men happily go marry the receptionist.
I had a look at the ABS’s new CDATA product, which lets members of the public create their own census tables. Their data suggests that female bachelor degree holders are about half as likely again as male bachelor degree holders to be divorced (7.4% versus 5%). Another 2.5% of female graduates and 2% of male graduates were separated at the time of the census.
Ladies, it is all bad news.