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August 06, 2006

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"I have previously blogged about how more intelligent men are less likely to get married. On the surface the data above seems to conflict with that, but it doesn't. There are two forces working in opposite directions. Men with better careers are more likely to get married because they are more attractive to women. Men with higher intelligence are less likely to get married because they are less attractive to women. Men with higher intelligence are more likely to have better educational attainment which in turn causes better careers."

All of the above are true except for your statement that more intelligent men are less likely to be married. By your own data, this is true, but only at the top! Men with the lowest scores are even less likely to be married than men with the highest scores! Smart is bad, but dumb is worse. It's not a matter of intelligence being good or bad, but rather that due to social effects there is an 'optimum IQ' that you don't want to stray from.

Judging from your prior analyses, a wordsum of 7 seems about optimal, or an IQ about 110 (can someone find my old post where I worked it out)?

Men with the lowest scores are even less likely to be married than men with the highest scores!

There's probably no way to prove it, but I'll bet that many of the unmarried men in the lowest score category live with women and have fathered children out of wedlock, while many of the unmarried men in the top score category are totally introverted nerds who have no experience at all with women.

9.2% of white women ages 40 to 44 have never been married according to the 2000 U.S. Census, compared to 13.7% of men. That's a pretty big difference.

Homosexuality might account for some of the gap, for while the difference is shrinking gay men still outnumber lesbians by some non-trivial margin. Though the Times itself recently mentioned one contrary factor, namely the rise in so-called "Brokeback marriages," a phenomenon almost completely without a lesbian counterpart.

"Men with higher intelligence are less likely to get married because they are less attractive to women."

I thought women liked smart guys. (But also, Ive seen studies show that gay men are more intelligent; this factor might be biasing such above-mentioned findings).

Anyway, marriage rates are falling dramatically, with increasing real gdp per capita. The reason is clear: with rising living standards, people can afford more independence. Nowadays, people dont have to pool money together to buy a house or whatever. This is especially relevant for women; they are now relatvely much less dependent on men. So theres less reason to marry and its easier to divorce.
Also, if a couple are truly in love, then, surely, a males income might be less important. Namely, she can work and support him, right?


One thing they don't account for, is that a lot of blue-collar jobs are very male-dominated. The military, police, and firefighters are all at least 80% male. Auto mechanics are around 90% male.

It may be that it's just harder to meet women if you're not working around them -- which having a college degree would allow you to do.

mvpy, I suspect that women say they like intelligent men because (1) it's politically correct to say so, or (2) what they mean is that they don't like men who are really dumb.

Kirk, women love manly men like police and firefighters, those guys have no problem meeting women.

I suspect HS is right re: the real issue not being a college degree, but men's declining incomes (and job security) in general. Women have made progress over the past 30 years, but have not nearly caught up to what men used to have, so they're not in a position to switch roles.

The guys I've known who are middle-aged and never-married (usually with no kids) are mostly guys *with* degrees, from state schools, who have low-paid and/or insecure employment. They often want much younger women, but have nothing to attract them with. Unlike women, men are often not sensitive to the fact that social expectations change as they age. They think they can tread water until they make it big -- which in today's economy is less likely to happen.

These studies never distinguish between colleges, so Harvard guys get lumped in with state guys who took 10 or 15 years to get through a liberal arts program. I suspect the huge advantage of elites falsely buoys up the results for *all* college-degreed people.

Also, like that one professor said, maybe a lot of men have just *never* wanted to get married, and now no one's working to persuade them otherwise. A big reason for getting married was to have kids. Reproducing just doesn't get the social approval it used to, and raising kids has become very expensive.

Kirk, police and firefighters are different, because they make very good money and their jobs are extremely secure. It seemed like the white guys the NYT talked to mostly had contract-type jobs that were insecure -- and did not involve manual labor. The term "blue-collar" is a lot vaguer than it used to be.

HS, liking a quality doesn't necessarily mean you want to marry someone with it. Haven't men been saying that forever? I suspect women mean they like men as smart as they are. If men tend to be smarter than women, then some male brainiacs get left out in the cold.

What about Asian men, who are more likely to have degrees, and more likely to get left out of reproductive activity?

Curious does, the GSS show any IQ difference between men and women?

I don't think its that women dislike smart per se, they dislike the things that correlate with smart, myopia, unathleticness, introversion.

Controlling for the difference in athleticness, do smart men have fewer partners than average?

spungen: "I suspect the huge advantage of elites falsely buoys up the results for *all* college-degreed people."

The elites are a very small part of any representative national sample, so actually they don't. There really is a big benefit from getting a college degree, even a degree from a mediocre state school.

Rob: "does, the GSS show any IQ difference between men and women?"

No, because the Wordsum questions were purposely picked so that men and women get equal scores. On the other hand, that doesn't necessarily close the case.

Here is a summary of each of the men profiled in the Times article, and what might be causing their problems:

Doug Thomas, 45, computer tech with one year college. As I see it, he has two major issues: he lives with a woman in a (supposedly) platonic relationship that seems to unnerve other women, and though he now makes $56K his job may end in a year.

Jeff Enos, 40, construction foreman. He has bad relations with family members and is worried about losing money if he marries and gets divorced.

Tom Ryan, 54, electronics specialist and ex-rock musician. He also seems worried about losing money in case of divorce.

Chris Cunningham, 40, sanitation worker now on office duty and making $80K. He seems to have no concerns about marriage and in fact wants to get married. His case is by far the most sympathetic of the lot.

Joe Callendar, 47, retired jail guard. I won't count him because even though never married, he's lived with two women and has four children.

By the way, there's a long discussion of this article going on at Ann Althouse's blog, which I should point out is a blog with a huge and influential. readership. I'd really like to post a comment, but being a blogosphere celebrity Ms. Althouse allows only people who themselves have blogs hosted by blogger.com to post comments.

"The elites are a very small part of any representative national sample, so actually they don't. There really is a big benefit from getting a college degree, even a degree from a mediocre state school."

But, yesterday you said it would shorten my telomeres and drag me to an early grave.

My idea of elite may be different than yours. What I am talking about probably comprises the top 50 - 75 percent. "Elite" is probably not a good word for that concept but I can't think of a better one. Maybe "decent," or "that don't suck."

For instance, I'd put UCLA in the "elite" category. You would probably consider it a "mediocre state school," whereas I define "state school" only as a public school with the word "state" actually in its name.

Peter, of course you're right. These guys clearly have issues. But, consider that any person is probably going to have some baggage, emotional or otherwise, by the time he hits middle-age. The issue is whether economic instability makes things worse for them. If financial circumstances hinder men from marrying and becoming stable in their 20s and early 30s, a lot of guys will end up like this.

It seems to me like the simplest explanation is that men don't want to get married as much as women do. They lined up a bunch of guys who *did* want to get married to bolster their explanation, but that proves nothing. I also know a couple of guys, now almost 40, who *could* have gotten married, and claim to want to eventually, but have just sort of kept going along looking for someone a little better (or something; I don't know all their motives). I doubt a woman in their situation would have acted with the same lack of urgency.

"For instance, I'd put UCLA in the "elite" category. You would probably consider it a "mediocre state school," whereas I define "state school" only as a public school with the word "state" actually in its name."

UCLA is number 11 last time I checked. UC Berkeley is equal to an Ivy in terms of academics if not prestige. Off the East Coast the state schools are much better.

"It seems to me like the simplest explanation is that men don't want to get married as much as women do."

Ohhhh yeah. Great point. We've known that for years!

That last one was not meant to be sarcastic, I actually do think you have a really good point there.

Internet's annoying sometimes.

"Off the East Coast the state schools are much better"

Eh? SFG, if you're referring to the CSUs I'll have to fight you on that one. Remember, "state school" does not include UCs, which don't contain the word "state" in their name.

Enough with this talk about women not liking smart men. They do, especially smart women. The reasons smart men may have less sex partners or less likelihood of being married are most likely (a) more focused on careers (b) higher standards for the women they date (c) some smart men may not develop as good social skills (d) they don't WANT to get married. Very smart people would rather hook up with others like themselves, and there are not many out there. I've usually noticed that guys are MORE attractive to women when they are very smart, as long as they have social skills. Most smart women want a man who can carry a conversation with them, but it is difficult for a very smart guy to find a cute girl on his level.

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