Contextual Influence on Mate Selection: Is There an Effect of Adolescent Neighborhood Characteristics on Future Partner Choice?

Karen Haandrikman, Stockholm University
Bo Malmberg, Stockholm University

Extensive research on mate selection shows that similarities in terms of social status, education, religion and geographical origin are important factors in partner choice. In this study we will expand on this research by considering an additional factor that can increase the probability of a match: coming from a neighborhood with shared socio-demographic characteristics. In the neighborhood effects literature, the importance of neighborhood context for the development of social norms, behavioral patterns and demographic outcomes has repeatedly been stressed. The study employs a longitudinal design, using register data for the 1980 Swedish birth cohort, measuring neighborhood context at age 15 and partner selection from age 18 to 32. A conditional logit model is estimated using the actual partner and a number of alternative partners, including individual and neighborhood level variables. Neighborhood context is measured using aggregate statistics for the population of individualized neighborhoods.

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Presented in Session 222: Spatial Effects on Partnering and Race