Assortative Mating Among College Graduates: Heterogeneity Across Fields of Study

Siqi Han , The Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics (INCITE), Columbia University
Yue Qian, University of British Columbia

Prior research on assortative mating commonly treated college graduates as a homogeneous group. This study advances the literature by investigating heterogeneity in assortative mating across fields of study. The school-to-work transition literature has shown that college fields of study differ in their linkages to a targeted or diffuse set of occupations, which raises the question about whether field-of-study homogamy exacerbates occupational homogamy. The authors analyzed 24,670 college-educated newlyweds from the American Community Surveys. Log-linear analysis revealed that college graduates, especially those in vocational-specific fields (e.g., law, health, and education), tend to marry a spouse in the same field. Occupational homogamy was more likely to occur among couples with two spouses in the same vocational-specific field than those in different fields of study. The results underline the importance of field of study in shaping opportunities to meet partners and highlights its role in structuring marriage markets.

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 Presented in Session 4. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions