The Changing Role of Education in the Marriage Market: Assortative Marriage in Canada and the United States Since the 1970s - ARCHIVED

Articles and reports: 11F0019M2007299


Whether or not relative rates of assortative marriage have been rising in the affluent democracies has been subject to considerable dispute. First, we show how the conflicting empirical findings that have fueled the debate are frequently an artifact of alternative methodological strategies for answering the question. Then, drawing on comparable census data for Canada and the United States, we examine trends in educational homogamy and intermarriage with log-linear models for all marriages among young adults under 35 over three decades. Our results show that educational homogamy, the tendency of like to marry like, has unambiguously risen in both countries since the 1970s, with no sign of the U-turn in levels of intermarriage reported in some earlier comparative studies. Rising levels of marital homogamy were the result of declining intermarriage at both ends of the educational distribution. However, while trends for men and women were quite similar in Canada, they differed significantly in the United States. The overall rise in marital homogamy In the United States was partially offset by an increased tendency of women with some college education to marry 'down' the educational hierarchy. In Canada, the only sign of abatement in the trend toward greater educational homogamy was a slight increase in intermarriage among university-educated men and women during the 1990s.

Issue Number: 2007299
Author(s): Hou, Feng; Myles, John
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PDFMay 18, 2007