Couples Making the Same Amount of Income More Likely to Marry, Stay Together

By: Marie Donlon

The keys to any successful marriage, as most experts will tell you, are factors such as open communication, shared objectives, laughter … and equal pay?

According to research from Patrick Ishizuka, a postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University’s Cornell Population Center, couples living together who make roughly the same amount of money are more likely to marry and even likelier still to stay married than couples making disparate incomes.

"Once couples have reached a certain income and wealth threshold, they're more likely to marry," said Ishizuka. "Economically disadvantaged couples are also more likely to separate."

Ishizuka’s findings seem to support a theory called “the marriage bar” wherein couples close to achieving economic benchmarks associated with marriage — for instance, having enough money to purchase a house — have a greater chance of getting married. In contrast, the theory also suggests that couples who are economically disadvantaged and struggling to achieve “the marriage bar” are less likely to get married.

As such, Ishizuka suggests that: “Marriage is increasingly reserved for couples that have achieved a high economic standard. Rising divorce rates since the 1960s have also been steepest for individuals with less education."

For more on the study, go to the journal Demography.