Highly Educated White Women Less Likely to Experience a Marital Breakup

C. Price
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Studies have shown well-educated couples are less likely to divorce or separate than less-educated couples, but a new study coming out of Rutgers School of Social Work has discovered racial differences in these findings.

The study, which was published in the journal Family Relations, found white women with higher education levels are less likely to divorce or separate than white women with less education, but the same cannot be said for African-American women.

From 1975 to 1999, Jeounghee Kim, assistant professor at Rutgers, separately studied white and African-American women in five-year marriage cohorts.

She took into account each woman’s age, post-secondary education, geographic region and whether the woman had children.


“White women with higher education levels

are less likely to divorce or separate.”

Kim tracked marital breakups within nine years of a first marriage rather than legal divorce because she said many African-American women favor a separation.

The results confirmed the percentage of white women with some post-secondary education increased while the percentage of white women experiencing a marital breakup declined.

However, the percentage of African-American women gaining some post-secondary education peaked from 1985 to 1994 before declining. African-American women also experienced an increase in marital breakups in the 1980s before declining in the early 1990s.

Kim correlates these racial differences with economic inequality, intergenerational wealth and gender gaps.

“Many are the first in their families to have attained a post-secondary education and do not benefit from the cushion of intergenerational wealth possessed by some white families,” she said. “The return on higher education may not be the same for many African-American women, who have less chance to marry their educational equals.”

Source: Rutgers.edu. Photo source: bp.blogspot.com.