Educational Homogamy of Married and Cohabiting Couples: Do Marriage and Cohabitation Become More Similar as Cohabitation Becomes More Common?

Dana Hamplova, McGill University
Celine Le Bourdais, McGill University

Past studies have shown that married and unmarried couples differ in assortative mating patterns but the nature of these differences and their variation across social classes and institutional backgrounds remains unclear. This paper contributes to the previous research by comparing educational homogamy of married and cohabiting couples in Canada and by investigating changes over time. Specifically, it contrasts English Canada where cohabitation serves mainly as a prelude to marriage and Qu├ębec where cohabitation has become the modal way to form a family. Canadian census data are used and the method of log-linear modeling is applied. Results reveal two tendencies. First, married and cohabiting couples are more similar in terms of homogamy and odds of crossing educational barriers if cohabitation is more common. Second, spouses display higher levels of educational homogamy in the social context where cohabitation is less institutionalized, whereas no clear trend is observed if cohabitation is widespread.

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Presented in Session 37: Social Mobility: Across and Within Generations