• 03.23.05

Too Smart to Marry? Not So Fast!

As if bright women don’t have enough to worry about — what with wage gaps and

As if bright women don’t have enough to worry about — what with on ramps and off ramps, and wage gaps and Carly being fired, now we have this: in its little page of curious studies, “Primary Sources,” The Atlantic Monthly cites a British study that found that for every 15-point increase in IQ over the average, a woman’s chances of marrying drops by 60 percent.


When my editor dropped that bombshell on my desk, I did what any smart woman would do: I instantly called my husband to complain. Not about workplace harrassment, mind you, although John Byrne does love to stroll around the office making trouble on slow days. But to get the facts.

In times like this, it helps to be married to a sociologist, who has the latest data at his fingertips. Within seconds, he pointed me to more recent data than the meager little Scottish study the Atlantic referenced.

The National Marriage Project at Rutgers helpfully publishes an annotated page putting a lot of these stupid myths to rest. Among the findings, this from the esteemed American Sociological Review: College-educated women’s chances of marrying are better than less well-educated women. The one caveat: the growing gender gap in college education (that is, significantly more women are now getting degrees than guys), may make it harder in the future for smart women to find similarly well-educated men.

Bottom line: the new trophy guy for smart gal may be a dumb blonde.

About the author

Linda Tischler writes about the intersection of design and business for Fast Company.