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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — What do women want more than anything in a lifelong mate? For him to have a steady job.
Solid employment is the #1 priority women are looking for in a husband, more than compatibility in raising children or in moral and religious beliefs, according to a Pew Research Center study released Wednesday. Having the same education or racial/ethnic background are far lower on the list.
Men have different priorities. Their main concern is having similar ideas about having and rising children.
Three in 10 never-married Americans who want to settle down say the main reason they haven't is that they can't find someone who has what they are looking for in a spouse.
The pool of eligible bachelors, however, has been shrinking.
Participation in the labor force among men — particularly young men — has fallen significantly in recent decades. Only 82% of men ages 25 to 34 were in the workforce in 2012, down from 93% in 1960.
At the same time, the share of American adults who've never been married is at an all-time high, according to a Pew analysis of Census data.
One in five Americans age 25 or older have never tied the knot, more than double the share in 1960.
Instead more are shacking up and raising children outside of marriage. Some 24% of those age 25 to 34 are living with a partner, according to Pew.
Those who still are exchanging vows are doing so later in life. The median age has soared to 27 for women, up from 20 in 1960, and to 29 for men, up from 23.
The "marriage gender gap" has widened over the past half century with men more likely to never get hitched.
Many of today's single Americans may never marry. If trends continue, a record 25% of today's young adults will remain single by the time time reach their mid-40s to mid-50s, according to Pew. That's a fivefold increase since the 1960s.
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