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Wives Complete Higher Education than Husbands, U.S. Study Finds

Update Date: Feb 14, 2014 11:41 AM EST

According to a new study, for the very first time in five decades, women's education levels have surpassed those of their husbands. The researchers reported that the trend of wives being more educated than their partners is a huge reversal since men have had the upper hand in terms of education for so long. However, the researchers reported that the difference between the levels is not huge.

For this study, the Pew researchers examined data collected by the American Community Survey and the Decennial Census. The researchers noted that particularly in 2012, nearly 40 percent of college-educated women were married to a man who did not have a college degree. The researchers also reported that 21 percent of married women had higher education levels in comparison to their husbands. For men, 20 percent of them achieved higher academic statuses than their wives.

Even though the difference was small, the researchers believe that the trend might continue over the next few years. They reported that in terms of newlyweds, who are couples that were married within one year prior to the survey, over 25 percent of women had married men who were less educated than they were. On the other hand, 15 percent of men had married women with lower educations.

The team also reported that the number of married couples with similar education levels has fallen from 80 percent during the 1960s to 60 percent in 2010s. The researchers stated that their findings are not reporting that women are smarter than men. The numbers simply reveal that more women are graduating school and receiving their bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees.

"Adults with high school or less education are much less likely to marry," Pew researcher and author of the report, Wendy Wang wrote according to TIME. "The marriage rate among this group plummeted-from 72% in 1960 to 46% in 2012."

The researchers detailed that during the 1960s, 75 percent of American couples were high school educated or less. During the 1980s, this percentage fell below 50 percent. By 2012, the researchers found that the number of married couples with college degrees was almost the same as the number of high school educated married couples, with the rates at 22.4 percent and 24.2 percent respectively. The researchers found that 12 percent of the married couples in 2010 has some college education.

The findings were published by the Pew Research Center.

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