Falling Canadian Marriage Rate Is An Education Issue?

The lost boy generation strikes again. For years educators have been noting a phenomena of apathy among school age boys that has manifested in higher dropout rates and few young men entering and/or graduating from university. But recent data suggests that the growing education gap between young men and women could be behind the falling marriage rate in Canada.

Losing Ground

In 1971, 68% of college graduates were men between the ages of 25 and 29, but by 1981 that number had dropped to just 54%. Thirty years later, the number of graduates who were male was 42%. A Youth In Transition survey in 2003 discovered that while 38% of nineteen-year-old women were attending university, only 25.7% of their male peers had done the same.

Societal Consequences

This higher education gap coupled with young women delaying childbearing so they can establish careers has resulted in a plummeting marriage rate. Because people tend to marry peers, men without higher educations are not considered prospects by women with degrees. The pool of available partners is reduced for both men and women. Who would have thought that forty years ago?

Many Factors

Of course, there are many other reasons for the decline in marriage. Common law unions have more legal standing and offer greater protections to couples economically, and religion does not play a primary role in the lives of many Canadians, so faith’s historical push towards matrimony is not an issue for most. But the larger implications of the education gap might well be a shift in career domination and wage earning that could further demoralize young males who are at higher risk of dropping out before even graduating from high school, much less university.

What Do You Think?

Boys are falling behind. They are more likely to drop out, not attend university, delay entry into the workforce and more likely to live at home as young adults. What’s happened?

Related Stories: 

Proposed Canadian Learning Passport: Will $1,500 Per Year Make A Difference?

School Sees Segregation as Key to Success

The Feminization of the College Degree?


Photo credit: Check Out That Smile by Dianna Williams


Irene P.
Irene P6 years ago

TY for the article!

Nina Anghel
Nina Anghel6 years ago

Who cares about marriage?! You can have it!

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/falling-canadian-marriage-rate-is-an-education-issue.html#ixzz1QDbU38pJ

heather g.
heather g6 years ago

In most cases Canadian men seem unsophisticated compared to men from other countries. I feel sorry for them because most don't even question what the media has done to their brains through too much hockey. I should mention that I'm only passing judgement on men living in B.C. and there are many exceptions.......

Myriam G.
Myriam G6 years ago

I don't know about the part where "men without higher educations are not considered prospects by women with degrees". I mean, couldn't it be the other way around, sometimes, where men are intimidated by women who have degrees, and prefer not to date them?
My spouse (civil union, I'm Québecoise, what are you going to do?) has a bachelor degree, where I have a master's. HIs degree played no role in my decideing to be with him. Before I met him, I dated a guy who had a High School degree and was bagging groceries. He was also a painter and filmaker, really cool, but his friends were uncomfortable around me, refering to me as "the scientist" (at least to my face...).

Linda McKellar
Past Member 6 years ago

I don't feel men are being "pooped on". Women have been forever, as John Lennon put it, "the niggers of the world" - excuse the phrase, his not mine. It presents itself still in religious institutions & practices, employment opportunities & plain old social double standards. That women are trying, WITH MUCH DIFFICULTY I might add, to break out of the box in which they have been imprisoned, is to our credit & if men feel emasculated by this, that is their problem as they cannot accept an educated, intelligent woman. Society up until now has always fostered in men the idea that they are superior in every way. What a waste of half the world's population, women and their possible contributions. Personally, why would someone of education wish to marry someone with whom they could not communicate on an equal intellectual level? That is not snobbery but simply a matter of common interests & compatability. I couldn't sit & discuss sports all evening. How dull! Men need feel no less than women unless that is due to their own insecurity. A man can be uneducated or self educated but intelligent. There is a difference of course. The playing field is simply being levelled albeit in miniscule ways and in very few parts of the globe. Grant women SOME cocession without getting bent.

Mark Alan Dellavecchia

The dropping marriage rate is not much of a problem as it is only a shift in societal paradigms to current circumstances. The big issue is why are so many men lacking in self-esteem and feeling so superfluous, and not pursuing higher education?

THANK YOU Lisa M. for giving such a shining example of the problem.

Over the past 40 years or so, the schools have pushed raising the self-esteem of girls WHILE UNDERMINING IT IN BOYS. This is creating females who believe they can do anything, and males who question if they are good for anything. It will only get better when the education systems push for true equality between the sexes. One does not need to tear one down just to raise the other up: raise both to achieve their potential.

This is not just a Canadian problem. This is already happening here in the USA.

Marjaana V.
marjaana v6 years ago

the other r.... my aren't we bitter... MEN get pooped on all the time? oh do tell and we'll exchange stories...

so, how many times have you been told that you should be staying home to look after the kids [in their 30's at the time], instead of taking a job away from a family man or left to pay your spouses bills when he decided he didn't want to play any more [after 22 yrs] when you suddenly lost your job?

the article does not seem the least bit logical to me; one suspect i have in mind is the new trend to spend hours and days and weeks and months on video games/chats etc. that's all the kids seem to talk about and do, instead of homework and sports.

they'll all be useless at anything manual after wrecking their hands on carpal tunnel and tendinitis and that's after they blew away their education on the games.

what about the feeling on entitlement? so many kids appear to think their parents owe them - just for living.

The Other Robert O
Robert O6 years ago

Who cares about marriage?! You can have it!

There are surely many reasons why young men are not oriented to more books, more bills, and taking on the burden of supporting people who don't respect you.

One quick glance at the postings speaks volumes. "Men" get pooped on all the time.

That women are in a more empowered position is a good thing. You have had a lot of support from men to get to today. How is ripping up half the human race helpful? How is lumping all men together and hating them going to help? Women don't see value in a man with less education? Why? That cuts two ways.

OK girls, now that you are doing well, how about rising above all the things you have held men in contempt for, for so long?

Grace Adams
Grace Adams6 years ago

Girls who are willing to sit still, pay attention to the teacher, and speak only when called upon to recite are much easier to teach than restless boys. Maybe we need to figure out what it would take to get boys to learn--especially the 3 Rs.

Janet S.
Past Member 6 years ago

This article is another today, that attempts to simplify a complex issue, and make conclusions where only discussion and more thought is needed. I hope many readers will begin to express their concern for the jumping-to-conclusions problem of some research findings and article-writing.