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The Educational Gradient in Marriage: A Comparison of 25 European Countries

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  • Matthijs Kalmijn

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Abstract

Previous research has suggested that a new marriage gradient has emerged in the United States, with marriage becoming increasingly the privilege of the better-educated. This article examines whether this is true for Europe and explores differences in the marriage gradient among 25 European countries, using multilevel models. The focus is on the chances of living in a marital (or cohabiting) union during midlife (ages 40–49). Multilevel analyses show that the direction and strength of the gradient depend on the societal context. In countries where gender roles are traditional, better-educated women are less likely to be married than less-educated women; in gender-egalitarian countries, better-educated women are more likely to be married. For men, the educational effect on marriage is absent in traditional countries but becomes positive as gender roles become more equal. Inequality in a society also modifies the gradient: if the degree of economic inequality between educational groups in a society is strong, better-educated men are more likely to be married than less-educated men. In general, the results suggest that there may be an accumulation of social and economic disadvantages for the less well educated in more-developed countries. Copyright Population Association of America 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Matthijs Kalmijn, 2013. "The Educational Gradient in Marriage: A Comparison of 25 European Countries," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(4), pages 1499-1520, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:demogr:v:50:y:2013:i:4:p:1499-1520
    DOI: 10.1007/s13524-013-0229-x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Brienna Perelli-Harris & Laura Bernardi, 2015. "Exploring social norms around cohabitation: The life course, individualization, and culture," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 33(25), pages 701-732, October.
    2. repec:dem:demres:v:38:y:2018:i:20 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:dem:demres:v:37:y:2017:i:63 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Sam Hyun Yoo, 2016. "Postponement and recuperation in cohort marriage: The experience of South Korea," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 35(35), pages 1045-1078, October.
    5. Alessandra Trimarchi & Jan Van Bavel, 2017. "Education and the Transition to Fatherhood: The Role of Selection Into Union," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(1), pages 119-144, February.
    6. repec:kap:jfamec:v:38:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10834-017-9521-z is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Jia Yu & Yu Xie, 2015. "Changes in the Determinants of Marriage Entry in Post-Reform Urban China," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(6), pages 1869-1892, December.
    8. Trude Lappegård & Sebastian Klüsener & Daniele Vignoli, 2014. "Social norms, economic conditions and spatial variation of childbearing within cohabitation across Europe," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2014-002, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    9. Yen-hsin Alice Cheng, 2014. "Changing partner choice and marriage propensities by education in post-industrial Taiwan, 2000-2010," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 31(33), pages 1007-1042, November.
    10. Juho Härkönen, 2017. "Diverging destinies in international perspective: Education, single motherhood, and child poverty," LIS Working papers 713, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    11. repec:dem:demres:v:39:y:2018:i:27 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Jennifer A. Holland, 2013. "Love, marriage, then the baby carriage? Marriage timing and childbearing in Sweden," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 29(11), pages 275-306, August.
    13. Fletcher, Jason M. & Polos, Jessica, 2017. "Nonmarital and Teen Fertility," IZA Discussion Papers 10833, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. Jaap Dronkers & Matthijs Kalmijn, 2013. "Single-parenthood among migrant children: Determinants and consequences for educational performance," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1309, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    15. repec:spr:eurpop:v:33:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10680-016-9407-z is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Jisoo Hwang, 2016. "Housewife, “gold miss,” and equal: the evolution of educated women’s role in Asia and the U.S," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(2), pages 529-570, April.
    17. Rania Salem, 2016. "The gendered effects of labour market experiences on marriage timing in Egypt," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 35(11), pages 283-314, August.
    18. Agnese Vitali & Bruno Arpino, 2016. "Who brings home the bacon? The influence of context on partners' contributions to the household income," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 35(41), pages 1213-1244, October.
    19. repec:dem:demres:v:38:y:2018:i:41 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. repec:dem:demres:v:37:y:2017:i:4 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Jisoo Hwang, 2016. "Housewife, “gold miss,” and equal: the evolution of educated women’s role in Asia and the U.S," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(2), pages 529-570, April.
    22. repec:dem:demres:v:37:y:2017:i:18 is not listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Marriage; Divorce; Education; Gender roles; Inequality;

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