Marrying Within the Alma Mater: Understanding the Role of Same-University Marriages in Educational Homogamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Most prior work on educational homogamy does not distinguish between college attendees who marry someone who attended the same university (same-university marriages) and those who marry someone who attended a different university (different-university marriages). This article estimates the prevalence of partnering between individuals who attended the same university in the United States. Using rich data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), this study finds that, among college graduates who marry other college graduates, about one third have same-university spouses. As higher education has massified and feminized, rates of same-university marriages have changed very little between 1973 and 2013. By distinguishing between same-university and different-university marriages, this article highlights the role that universities, as organizational settings, play in structuring elective affinities – Pierre Bourdieu’s term for the class-based shared experiences and tastes that form the basis of social and romantic ties. Educational homogamy contributes to social stratification by consolidating the educational and social advantages of the individuals and same-university marriages make up a significant portion of these partnerships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-272
Number of pages19
JournalSociological Research Online
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

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