Friday, October 10, 2008

More Women Than Men Pursuing Higher Education

Below is a chart of the gender imbalance in terms of associate degrees awarded that made based on data from a blog post by Richard Whitmire.

This chart shows that not only are there racial disparities in educational levels, but also that women of all races are more likely than men to finish at least associate degree education levels.

Whitmire quotes:
Bottom line: “Women outperformed men in college enrollment rates for all races/ethnicities. Overall, 44% of 18- to 24-year-old women were enrolled in college in 2006, compared with 36% of men.”
So what exactly does all this mean? I'm not entirely sure, but the shortage of men on college campuses is already starting to affect the dating environment. Historically, women have tended to prefer men with education levels equal to or above their own. These numbers indicate there will be far more college educated women than men in the future, which could have a whole host of social ramifications such things as increasing the opportunity cost for a woman to bear children, increasing wages of women relative to men (possibly eventually exceeding the average salaries of men), etc. This in turn may make the old world of a father being the main breadwinner for the family increasingly rare and make competition for college-educated men increasingly intense.

There are a lot of social norms and expectations that many people of both genders hold when it comes to marriage which are based on the historical reality of more men going to college than women. It will be interesting to see how these norms change in the face of these new demographic realities.

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