'Marrying down'

For the first time, more women than men are 'marrying down.' (Pew Research Center / February 12, 2014)

A record number of American women are “marrying down,” tying the knot with a husband who is less educated than they are, according to a new study.

Nearly 21% of married women in 2012 were better educated than their spouses, a threefold jump from 1960, according to the Pew Research Center. By contrast, a bit less than 20% of men had more formal education than their wives.

In the more than half-century that Pew has tracked the issue, this is the first time that a higher percentage of women than men have married down.

The dynamic is due partly to the well-chronicled fact that women have surpassed men in college graduation rates in the last two decades.

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Among college-educated newlyweds, 39% of women pledged their undying devotion to a non-grad. Only 26% of men did the same.

Even with their superior education, however, women aren't necessarily marrying down when it comes to income, according to the report.

About 58% of better-educated women earned less than their husbands. Only 39% of women earned a higher salary.

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Follow Walter Hamilton on Twitter @LATwalter