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For millennial women, ‘the one’ must have a steady job - The Washington Post


Stashed in: Young Americans, Marriage

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A plurality of never-married Americans ages 25 to 34 say the main reason they haven’t gotten married is that they’re not “financially prepared” to do so. Singles want to get their own finances and careers in order before hitching their wagon to another person. More important, they may otherwise have trouble attracting, or keeping, a mate.

Especially if they’re of the heterosexual male persuasion.

When asked what qualities they’re looking for in a potential spouse, never-married men were most likely to say that finding someone who shared “similar ideas about having and raising children” was very important to them. This was a priority for women, too, but not the most commonly cited one.

Women were most likely to say they wanted a spouse with a “steady job.”

You can imagine how this might be a problem, seeing as “steady jobs” are hard to come by these days, especially if you’re young and male. Even more so if you happen to also be low-skilled or black, among the demographics for whom both marriage and employment rates — not coincidentally — have fallen furthest in recent decades.

Wages for young men who are gainfully employed have skidded downwardin the past 30 years, by about 20 percent in inflation-adjusted terms. Worse, many don’t find jobs at all. Which means the number of “eligible bachelors” out there — at least as defined by the quality that most women say is important to them in a partner — has fallen.

Consider what’s happened to the gender ratios in the population of never-married Americans, ages 25 to 34: In 1960, there were 139 employed men for every 100 women, primarily because women tend to marry younger than men do. By 2012, the ratio had dropped to 91 employed men for every 100 women.

The ratio is particularly stark for young, never-married blacks, among whom there are just 51 employed men for every 100 women. This seems an especially cruel trend when you consider that, of all races surveyed, blacks were most likely to cite a “steady job” as a top criterion for a potential spouse, the Pew report found. Nine out of 10 black women surveyed said this was “very important” in selecting a spouse. Blacks were also most likely to have traditional views about the social significance of marriage, saying that it is “very important” that a couple legally marry if they plan to spend the rest of their lives together.

Ouch. Lack of jobs causes all kinds of other problems. 

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