Marrieds a Tad Less Happy Than in the Past. Why is That?


Lots of people are getting married these days. What I’ve noticed, is those getting married are a little older, well-educated and they’ve either been living together for a long time or have dated for a relatively short while.

And then Bloomberg published Sociology Professor Philip Cohen’s recent study on marriage in this article. Cohen found that Americans who say they’re “very happy” in their marriages has fallen from 68% in the early 1970s to 60%.

The four types of people who are most happily married, tend to be:

  •  Religious (e.g. attending services at least once a week!)
  • Have extreme political views (skewing either very liberal or very conservative)
  • Upper class/well-educated
  • Men (this is consistent with many other studies that show men tend to get more out of being married than women do)

Read on below for the one most important factor determining marital happiness.


Of all the factors analyzed by Professor Cohen, the one with the greatest effect on Americans’ marital happiness was economic status:

  •  The General Social Survey asks participants whether they identify as members of the upper, middle, working, or lower class. The number of people who self-identify as “lower class” and “working class” has noticeably increased since the Great Recession of 2007-2009.
  • And it turns out there’s a 17-point gap between the happiness in lower- and upper-class marriages.

Bottom Line: When all the data is analyzed (and we only see a small portion here), it’s rich men with extreme political views who have the happiest marriages. Go figure!

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