Is there any generation that doesn’t consider itself a watershed? We’re suckers for studies that prove we were born at a true turning point. Research by the Institute for Public Policy Research — a lefty, UK-based think tank — shows that “marrying up” is becoming a thing of the past, and the change really started with women born in the 1970s (hi!). While there has been a slight rise in the number of women who “marry down” (we prefer to think of it as a rise in the number of men seeking “aspirational marriages”), the most significant change is that more and more women are choosing to marry men of a similar social status, rather than trying to “bag a rich man,” as the classy saying goes. Sorry, Don Draper.
Amongst women born in 1958, for example, 38% married “well” — and please take those distancing quote-marks seriously! 23% married someone from a poorer background, and about a third married someone of similar status. Amongst women born in 1970, the number “marrying up” dropped by 5%, and 45% married someone of similar status. And for women born between 1976 and 1981, only 16% married a Don Draper.