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

Feng Hou, John Myles


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. Rising levels of marital homogamy were the result of declining intermarriage at both ends of the educational distribution.


educational assortative marriage, homogamy, loglinear model

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