What College Degree Is Most Valuable, BS, MS, or MRS?

In high school I knew some girls who wanted to find a husband at college. We made fun of them by joking that they didn’t want a BA degree, but a MRS degree instead.  But in hindsight it isn’t the worst idea to go to college in part to look for marital bliss because education and marriage are correlated.

Recent Census Bureau data show that college-educated parents are more likely to get married and stay married than less educated Americans.  Divorce is much lower among college graduates than among those with less education.  Almost 9 in 10 college-educated parents of kids under age 18 are married and living with their kids.  In contrast, only 64% of high-school parents who dropped out are married.  cb13-199_families

The overall marriage rate has been going down, but this is largely because low-education, low-income Americans have much lower marriage rate than in earlier decades.  As a result, over 40 percent of births in America are to unmarried women today.

Studies have also shown that married people say they are happier than single people.  This is partly due to selection bias because nobody wants to marry a grump, but it may also be partly causal.  And married men earn more money than single men.  One study attributed it to married men working harder, but there might also be some discrimination against single men.

Marriage also pays off economically because 2-parent families have more economies of scale in home production because they can share more resources with more people living in one house.  Divorce directly causes a lot of poverty because of the need to pay rent for two houses instead of one and smaller households are simply less efficient because it is harder to share things like vehicles, TVs, and internet services between separate households whereas the whole point of a household is to share with other household members.

Education is correlated with all sorts of benefits that are not directly related to the subjects taught in school.  Educated people are more likely to get married, less likely to get divorced, and educated people are healthier and live longer.

Posted in Labor

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