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Assortative Mating of the Divorced and the Never Married in the United States, 1970-1988

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Download PDF versionOno, Hiromi. 2003. "Assortative Mating of the Divorced and the Never Married in the United States, 1970-1988." PSC Research Report No. 03-533. March 2003.

I investigate whether there is an underlying tendency for divorced and never married persons to marry within their marital history group in the United States. A theory of assortative mating suggests that if the never married and the divorced were to intermarry, their mismatched characteristics would create inefficiencies in the marriage; in order to avoid the inefficiencies, they tend to be homogamous. I apply log-linear models to marriages from the Vital Statistics Marriage Files, 1970-1988, to investigate the presence of the homogamous tendency. Consistent with the theory, the never married and the divorced are more likely to marry within their group than to intermarry, even when removing the influences of relative group size and controlling for spousal education and age. Additional findings indicate that: a) in general, the tendency toward homogamy weakened between 1970 and 1988; and b) no evidence is available that the divorced and the never married engage in status exchange in order to intermarry and hence are groups ordered on a social hierarchy. Implications of the findings are discussed.

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