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Researchers are constantly on a hunt to find out what particular factors have led to a decline in marriage globally. There are many theories floating around, but a new study from the Journal of Marriage & Family thinks the shortage of folks willing to jump the broom is due to a lack of “economically attractive” men, The Independent reports.

Social scientists from Cornell University collected data on marriages between 2007-2012 and 2013-2017 and explored what economic characteristics lead to compatibility between couples.

They took data they collected on unmarried men and compared them to profiles of potential fake spouses they created based on information pulled from the American Community Survey.

The team found that people sought partners who made 58% more income than what men are actually bringing in yearly. These fake husbands were also 30% more likely to be employed than men in real life, and 19% more college educated. To put it plainly: women want more financially out of their partners than what actually exists.

Unsurprisingly, women who made less money and women who made more money were all searching for an economically attractive male.

Lead researcher on the study, Dr. Daniel Lichter, said of the findings, “Most women hope to marry but current shortages of marriageable men – men with a stable job and a good income – make this increasingly difficult, especially in the current gig economy of unstable low-paying service jobs.”

Continuing, “Marriage is still based on love, but it also is fundamentally an economic transaction. Many young men today have little to bring to the marriage bargain, especially as young women’s educational levels on average now exceed their male suitors.”

Chris Sherwood, exec at relationship charity Relate believes the findings speak to the endless options modern adults have when it comes to how they live their lives.

“Eighty years ago people got married, in part, because society expected them to,“ Sherwood said.

”These same societal pressures don’t exist today and it’s to be celebrated that people now have far greater choice around how they form, structure and manage their relationships.”

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