The Reversal of the Gender Inequality in Education and Assortative Mating in Europe

Yolien De Hauw, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
André Grow, 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 European Social Survey data (ESS1-6) 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. Multilevel regression analysis suggests that the reversal of gender inequality in education has been a driver of this leap. The rise of educational homogamy, in contrast, 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 71: Marriage Markets