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Career-Driven Women Struggling to Meet Mr. Right Won’t ‘Marry Down,’ Study Finds

A new academic study found that career-driven women are struggling to meet eligible men with similar education and income levels, but still refuse to settle for the “average joe.”

These so-called “Mismatches in the Marriage Market” are due to the lack of college degrees and higher incomes among men, making it that much harder for high-flying career women to find a “Mr. Right” worth marrying, study authors claim. Getting hitched typically involves “marrying up” for women and “marrying down” for men, but a recent shift in personal fortunes has proved problematic for some.

“Unmarried women, on average, are looking for a man who has an income that’s about 66 percent higher and a likelihood of having a college degree that is about 49 percent higher than what is available,” according to the report, published by Brigham Young University’s Wheatley Institution.

Marriage Market

Women are more likely to earn a college degree, while men have less education and lower incomes, the study noted. (Getty Images)

For the study, researchers Dan Lichter, Jeff Swigert and Joseph P. Prince devised a formula matching single women to married women with otherwise similar tastes in men using data from 10.5 million households surveyed over three years by the U.S. Census Bureau, Daily Mail reported. The goal? To determine what unmarried women seek in a potential male partner, assuming these women are seeking the kinds of men who are already married.

” … We use the characteristics of the husbands of those matches to determine the likely characteristics of each single woman’s husband if she were married — which we call her ‘synthetic husband,’ the researchers wrote. “These synthetic husbands answer important questions about why there’s such an imbalance in the marriage market.”

One main cause of this mismatch lies in the fact that women obtain close to 60 percent of U.S. Bachelor’s degrees and are more likely to get a college education. Meanwhile, men are seeking out a partner who’s younger and is less educated. This strange combination leaves a large chunk of educated women with a smaller pool of eligible men to choose from.

“The marriage market may be further skewed against high-flying women because potential male partners are still predisposed to ‘marrying down,'” Harry Benson, research director at the Marriage Foundation, told the Daily Mail.

Other experts like psychotherapist Susana Abse warned men and women against creating a fantasy idea of the “perfect” wife/husband and instead encouraged people to be more satisfied with “ordinary” partners.

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