How Do Marriage, Divorce, and Educational Upgrading Affect Trends in Educational Assortative Mating?

Christine R. Schwartz, University of California, Los Angeles
Robert D. Mare, University of California, Los Angeles

Trends in the resemblance between husbands and wives on their educational attainments result from underlying trends in entry into marriage, marital dissolution, and educational upgrading by married persons. We use data from the June Current Population Survey to examine how within-cohort variation in educational assortative mating accounts for historical trends in the resemblance between spouses. We describe age patterns of educational assortative mating across three birth cohorts (1955-60, 1961-66, and 1967-72). For each cohort, we describe age patterns of educational assortative mating in prevailing marriages. Next, we decompose the within-cohort changes in prevailing marriages into two components: (1) changes due to first marriages and (2) changes due to marital dissolutions, remarriages, and educational upgrades after marriage. We then estimate the relative contribution of trends in assortative mating into first marriage and trends in marital dissolution, remarriage, and educational upgrading to historical changes in resemblance between spouses in prevailing marriages.

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Presented in Session 57: Intermarriage: Trends and Consequences II