Recent trends in educational assortative mating in Europe

Yolien De Hauw, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Jan Van Bavel, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

While men have always received more education than women in the past, this gender imbalance in education has now turned around. For the first time in European history, there are more highly educated women than men reaching the reproductive ages and looking for a partner. This paper investigates implications for recent trends in educational assortative mating. To this end, we use pooled data from five rounds of the European Social Survey (ESS1-5) as well as education-specific sex ratios calculated from the IIASA/VID population projections by education in addition to age and sex. Descriptive results point to a leap from female hypergamy to hypogamy over just one generation. Preliminary regression analysis indicates that the reversal of gender inequality in education has been a driver of this leap. In contrast, our results suggest that the earlier rise of educational homogamy was largely driven by rising levels of educational attainment per se rather than by education specific sex ratios.

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Presented in Session 65: Assortative mating, marriage and divorce