A vast number of studies ranging across time, continents, cultures, political systems, and religions show that when evaluating potential mates, women place significantly greater emphasis than men on material wealth, and that men tend to both display and exaggerate their financial status and prospects when around women.
None of this should come as a surprise since to propagate their genes women must make sure the small number of children they can bear will survive—and it takes resources to survive.
Studies in the U.S. from 1939 to the present show that women consider the prospect of financial success in a potential mate to be roughly twice as important as do men.
On average, women with college degrees require that a potential mate earn more than 70% of all other men.
As Baize and Schroeder point out, the answer to folk singer Tim Hardin's question, "If I were a carpenter and you were a lady, would you marry me anyway, would you have my baby?", is "No."
- "Personality and mate selection in personal ads: Evolutionary preferences in a public mate selection process", 1995 article by H.R. Baize and J.E. Schroeder, in Journal of Social Behavior and Personality
- "Evolutionary psychology: the new science of the mind", 2012 book by David M. Buss, pages 109-137