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Partner Choice among the Highly Educated in Sweden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4934-271X
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The goal of this study is to examine changes in the partnership formation of highly educated men and women over the period of higher educational expansion in Sweden. This study examines childbearing unions formed by highly educated men and women born in 1940-1942, 1950-1952, 1960-1962, and 1970-1972. Using binomial logistic regression, I analyze the likelihood for male and female graduates to form any childbearing union, and to form a union with a highly educated or a lower educated partner in relation to several educational variables. The educational variables considered are degree length (2-5 years), institution type (traditional and newer), income (predicted by program of study), and social class background. I find that in the birth cohorts studied, female graduates have become much less likely to remain unpartnered and much more likely to “partner down” in terms of education. Male graduates have been increasingly more likely to form childbearing unions with highly educated women. Higher status in terms of more prestigious education, higher class background, or higher income was generally associated with a higher likelihood of finding a highly educated partner—though some important gender differences exist. Additionally, the status indicators examined in this study do not appear to have become stronger predictors of partnership outcomes over time.

Keyword [en]
partner choice, higher education, educational homogamy, assortative mating, childlessness
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-145957OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-145957DiVA: diva2:1134815
Available from: 2017-08-21 Created: 2017-08-21 Last updated: 2017-08-24Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Higher education and family formation: A story of Swedish educational expansion
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Higher education and family formation: A story of Swedish educational expansion
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The subject of this dissertation is trends in family formation among highly educated men and women in Sweden. The highly educated have typically differed from other educational groups in their patterns of childbearing. This has particularly been

the case for highly educated women, who used to be in the minority among the highly educated and who were much more likely to be childless than other women. The goal of this dissertation is to understand how the expansion of higher education has transformed  the formation of childbearing unions among the highly educated group. The context for the dissertation is the dramatic expansion of higher education which has occurred in Sweden over the last half century. As the share of cohorts graduating from post-secondary education has grown, diversity among the highly educated has also increased. This dissertation draws upon rich Swedish administrative register data to answer questions about changes in the behavior of the highly educated group, as well as emerging stratification within the group. This dissertation consists of five studies and an introductory chapter.

In Study 1, we examine changes in geographical distances between young couples and their parents. We find that among younger cohorts, generations live further apart. The expansion of higher education contributes to these distances, though the introduction of regional colleges has mediated the impact of educational expansion to some extent. In Study 2, we consider how effective colleges are as partner markets. We follow one birth cohort (1970), and examine the likelihood that they form a childbearing union with someone who attended the same university at the same time. We find that colleges are an important potential meeting place for childbearing partners, and examine how the likelihood of partnering with a fellow student is related to the college composition.

In Study 3, I assess changes in partner choice among the highly educated, by comparing the likelihood that highly

educated men and women born in 1940-2, 1950-2, 1960-2, and 1970-2 form a childbearing union, and whether they do

so with a highly or a lower educated partner. I find that female graduates are much more likely to enter unions, and to

“partner down”. Men’s likelihood of forming a childbearing union hasn’t changed across cohorts, but men from later cohorts are much more likely to find a highly educated partner than men from earlier cohorts. I show that partnership outcomes for graduates are related to social class background, university experience (degree length and institution type), and post-graduation income. In Study 4, we study unions with at least one highly educated partner, including men and women born in 1950-2, 1960-2, 1970-2, and 1980-2. We examine the extent to which educational (in)equality is mirrored in other measures of status such as social class background, income, and occupational prestige. We conclude that although the number of women “partnering down” in terms of education has increased dramatically, these unions are not necessarily characterized by female status-dominance more generally. In Study 5, I focus on highly educated men who do not form any childbearing union, studying men born in the years 1945-1974. I find that the consistent levels of childlessness among highly educated men may best be explained by changes in the composition of graduates in terms of field of study and post-graduation income.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Sociology, Stockholm University, 2017
Series
Stockholm studies in sociology, ISSN 0491-0885 ; N.S., 71
Keyword
education, educational expansion, childbearing, union formation, educational homogamy
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-146038 (URN)978-91-7649-944-3 (ISBN)978-91-7649-945-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-10-13, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 340-2013-5164
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript. Paper 5: Manuscript.

Available from: 2017-09-20 Created: 2017-08-24 Last updated: 2017-09-14Bibliographically approved

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