College Graduates More Likely to Marry Than Cohabit

Posted: Mar 30, 2014 11:00 AM

Young adults who have obtained a bachelor's degree are more likely than their less-educated peers to get married, according to a report released Wednesday by Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the data:

Among young adults who were born in the early 1980s, 34 percent were married at age 27, while 20 percent were unmarried and living with a partner (cohabiting) and 47 percent were single. On average, young adults with more education were more likely to be married and less likely to be cohabiting.

It is not really all that surprising that more educated individuals opt to get married. Marriage unions promote overall health and emotional security. There are also many economic advantages to getting married, according to Jay Zagorsky, a research scientist at The Ohio State University:

While some people are in long-term, unmarried relationships, many cohabitating couples may not yet have committed to the idea that they will be together forever. That means they aren't combining resources as significantly as married couples.

"Many people are living together as a sort of trial," he said.

The wealth differences can be significant. Zagorsky's research has shown that people who got and stayed married each had about double the wealth of single people who never married. Together, the couple's wealth was four times that of a single person's.

Other data also shows that married people see stronger financial advantages than just a doubling of wealth. According to the Census Bureau, in 2010 the median net worth for a married couple between the ages of 55 and 64 was $261,405. That compares to $71,428 for a man heading a household, and $39,043 for a woman heading a household.

Consequently, children born to married couples are 82 percent less likely to be in poverty, the 2009 United States Census revealed.

With so much empirical evidence showing the benefits of marriage, it seems college graduates are merely doing their homework and making the best decision for their future.