Broke men leading to fewer US women getting married - study

Unhappy woman on date
Most available men just aren't bringing home enough bacon, according to a new study. Photo credit: Getty.

It's not surprising to hear that marriage rates are declining, with Millennials reportedly marrying less than any generation before. 

But while this is due to a host of factors, new research out of the US suggests some of the decline can be credited to a lack of "economically available" men. 

According to the paper published last week in the Journal of Family and Marriage, most single men are 'unmarriageable' due to their place in the current economy of "unstable, low paying service jobs". 

"Most American women hope to marry, but current shortages of marriageable men — men with a stable job and a good income — make this increasingly difficult," says lead author Daniel Lichter.

To investigate the man drought, researchers created profiles of potential husbands, based on real husbands as logged in American Community Survey data. They then compared these hypothetical spouses with actual unmarried men.

The made-up husbands, based on data logged from 2008 to 2012 and 2013 to 2017, made 58 percent more money than the lineup of real, eligible bachelors. They also were 30 percent more likely to be employed and 19 percent more likely to have a college degree - it's no wonder they were snapped up. 

"This study reveals large deficits in the supply of potential male spouses," the study concludes.

"Many young men today have little to bring to the marriage bargain, especially as young women's educational levels on average now exceed their male suitors," adds Lichter.

Putting love aside, Lichter says marriage is "fundamentally an economic transaction". 

Recent research from the Pew Research Centre reports millennials are three times as likely to never have married as their grandparents were.