Now I ain't saying she a gold digger ...

A Broadsheet reader points out more evidence that "marrying up" is on the outs.

Published January 6, 2006 6:03PM (EST)

Thanks to Broadsheet reader Paola Scommegna, posting in letters, for pointing out this interesting demographic study about Americans' marriage habits over the past 60 years.

Marrying up or down is growing rarer among Americans, according to the study by two researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles published in the peer-reviewed journal Demography last month. In sum, between 1940 and 1970 Americans became much less likely to marry outside their own educational level, and since then the trend has only become more pronounced. From the mid-'80s to the mid-'90s, the study documented a sharp increase among newlyweds with the same educational backgrounds, suggesting this trend will continue.

Education level and income are tightly correlated, so, Christine Schwartz, one of the authors of the study said: "As women's earnings have increased, men may have begun to compete for high-earning, highly educated women as women have traditionally competed for high-earning men."

Gee, is it finally time to bury that old slur "gold digger?" Or, at least apply it gender neutrally?

By Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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