NC State Economist Dr. Mike Walden – “Technology and Marriage”

Mary:  I’m Mary Walden with economist MW welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program looks at technology and marriage.  Mike, statistics show that marriage rates among adults have been dropping for several decades.  Obviously the causes of this change are multi-faceted and involve many aspects of our society.   But is there one factor that may be an unlikely contributor?

Mike: Summary Answer

  1. Marriage rates have been declining since 1960
  2. More so for those with less education, and less so for those with more education – this difference has to do with the potential income each mate brings to the table
  3. But the unlikely factor is technology
  4. Can think of a marriage as a productive arrangement based on both emotion and economics
  5. Regarding economies, in the “old days” each spouse specialized in takes around the household – food prep, cleaning, child-rearing, income earning
  6. All required considerable time
  7. Today, some of those tasks – food prep, cleaning, and even income-earning for those with college training – may not need as much time due to technology
  8. So not as much to gain by pooling resources through marriage
  9. One more example of broad impacts of technology
  10. I’m MW

Mary:  And I’m Mary Walden for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service