American family model changes; women obtain higher degrees

BY CHELSEA CATTANO Acting Editor-in-Chief

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 8.25.11 PMThe nuclear family model that was emblematic of 1950s America has given way to the blended family, and the ways in which families support themselves continue to change.

This year, a record number of women are “marrying down” from their level of education.

According to the Pew Research Center graph, during the era of 1960, the status of the married couple was inconsistent with today’s society. Only 6.9 percent of married women were at a higher education level than their husband during that time. However, the husband being the head of the household is still proven to be more educated than their spouse peaking up at 13.5 percent.

Fast forwarding to 2012, the women’s education level is starting to peak up at 20.7 percent becoming more educated than their husband, essentially making her the head of the household. Whereas the husband, who was once more educated then his wife is starting to decline starting at 19.9 percent.

Many married couples are no longer able to support themselves or their families if they only have one source of income.

Parents are more or less obligated to put their children through college. The number of full-time jobs are limited, and the inflation of the U.S. dollar has ensured that most married couples don’t have the luxury of deciding who will work and who will stay home with the children.

The reason for this rise in married couples where the woman is more educated can also be attributed to the fact that more women are continuing their education after high school. In 1960, women were the primary caregivers for their children, so some believed there was no reason for them to go to college because their husbands were the “bread winners.”

Now, however, women are more encouraged to take control of their futures. They are encouraged to be something other than a housewife.

Lisa Howard, a mother of four and the primary supporter of her family, explained why her holding a higher degree than her husband came about naturally and complemented her family’s structure.

“I went to school for computer program development,” Howard said. “During my time at school, I was fortunate enough to be able to earn a master’s degree. My husband works in construction and only stayed in college long enough to earn an associates degree. It didn’t make sense for him to continue in school because he could get a job without a degree, and he didn’t want to spend his whole life paying for something that he didn’t need. I needed the higher degree though because I had the opportunity to be paid a higher salary depending on what my level of education was.”

Gavin Bart, a biology student at County College of Morris, agreed with the study at the Pew Research Center.

“Things are different now,” Bart said. “I would hope that my future wife would want to help me provide for our family. I was raised to believe that education is very important and that everyone who has the opportunity to go to college should make the most out of their experience.”



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