Reading Sample 4- EDUCATION AND MARRIAGE (B1) (Short Reading)




Recently, researchers have found something remarkable that increasingly influences the decisions of American people about marriage: a university education. Fifty years ago, about three-fourths of American adults were married, no matter how much education they had. Today, only slightly more than half of adults are married. And most of those married people have college or university degrees. This connection between education and marriage seems to be having several effects. The first is that Americans are waiting longer to get married.  In other words, marriage now often gets delayed until people finish college, then maybe graduate school, then establish a career.  American women now marry for the first time at a median age of twenty-six. Median means half are older and half are younger. The median age for men is twenty-eight.  Men and women are getting married five years later than they did in the nineteen fifties, and a year later than they did twenty years ago.

       Another point is probably children.  It is believed that people who did not have college degrees were much more likely than the ones with college degrees to have children in the household, maybe from a prior relationship, maybe outside of marriage, and that really affects their ability to bring in a good income.”  In short, unmarried couples without college degrees are more likely to have children to support. Researchers say couples with college degrees rarely have children unless they are married.

        Combined, these factors have reshaped what an American family means. More children than in the past grow up with only one parent or with adults they are not related to. It might be a mother's boyfriend or a father's girlfriend. More adults are staying single or staying single longer. And marriage is becoming less common, at least among people who did not go to college.  Traditional nuclear families -- meaning married parents with children -- are now in the minority.


1- What can NOT be inferred from the first paragraph?

  1. The rate of marriage among educated people is falling dramatically.
  2. Americans get married later than ever.
  3. University education takes longer in the USA.
  4. The rate of Americans getting married has fallen by about a quarter.

2- What was the average age of marriage for women in the 1950s?

a) 21                         b) 25                     c) 26                        d)28                 


3- What does prior mean in the second paragraph?

a) current              b) subsequent            c) previous           d) future


4- What can be inferred from the passage?

  1. Educated couples are less likely to have children due to their jobs.
  2. The social structure of American families has been changing. 
  3. The university education takes longer compared to the past.
  4. The moral value of society about marriage has changed. 
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