People who have a college education are less likely to get divorced than those who didn’t finish college. In fact, lower divorce rates have a direct relationship with a person’s level of education. A study1 by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics offers a theory that people with a higher level of education, and consequently a higher level of income, have a lower divorce rate because they are more knowledgeable. But maybe there is more to the story that could help explain why the rate of divorce decreases as a couple’s education level increases.
This is an excerpt from the study.
“The chance of a marriage ending in divorce decreases as educational attainment rises: over half of the marriages among people who did not complete high school ended in divorce compared with approximately 30 percent of marriages among the college graduates.”
– Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 2013
Possible Theories Explaining Why
College-educated people could be more likely to attend marriage counseling. College grads are more likely to afford family and marriage counseling when they have relationship problems. They are also more likely to afford an intensive couples therapy retreat.
What if more educated people are better at communicating? That could be a thing. Not an explanation of behavior, rather knowledge of how to construct an argument and self-control strategies.
People who can afford to attend college could be more likely to wait until they are older and more settled to get married. After all, the study indicates the younger people get married, the higher the rate of divorce.
So, why do you think the divorce rate increases as education level rises? Could it really be a knowledge thing, or could there be other factors contributing to this seemingly straightforward study outcome?
- Alison Aughinbaugh, Omar Robles, and Hugette Sun, “Marriage and divorce: patterns by gender, race, and educational attainment,” Monthly Labor Review, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, October 2013, https://doi.org/10.21916/mlr.2013.32.