Sociology Index


HOMOGAMY is marriage between individuals who are, in some culturally important way, similar to each other. Heterogamy is contrasted with Homogamy. The similarity in homogamy may be based on ethnicity, religion or socioeconomic status. Homogamy is a descriptive concept only and does not refer to rules or customs about mate selection. Homophily often leads to homogamy, that is, marriage to people with similar characteristics. Biologists have devoted much attention to assortative mating or homogamy, but not heterogamy.

Homogamy in socio-economic background and education, and the dissolution of cohabiting unions. - By Elina Maenpaa, Marika Jalovaara. -
Despite the increasing prevalence of cohabitation, knowledge of how socio-economic homogamy affects the stability of cohabiting unions is scant. Few studies have compared the effects of homogamy in both ascribed status and achieved status. The aim is to determine how homogamy and heterogamy in educational level and parental social class affect the risk of cohabitation dissolution in Finland.
Previous Nordic studies report little or no association between educational homogamy or heterogamy and marriage dissolution.

Party Political Homogamy in Great Britain - Richard James Lampard, Univ. of Warwick Coventry, E S R 13:79-99 1997 
There is a high level of party political homogamy in Great Britain. Statistical analyses show that levels of homogamy vary according to strength of party political identification, parental homogamy, age, and marital status. Attitudes towards homogamy are shown to vary with age. The implications of these findings for theories relating to the origins of homogamy and to the consequences of heterogamy are considered. Broadly speaking, the findings indicate that party political homogamy is a consequence of demographic constraints, utility-maximizing choices, and responses to cultural norms.

Occupational Homogamy in Eight Countries of the European Union, 1975-89 - Jeroen Smits, Wout Ultee, Jan Lammers, University of Amsterdam, and Nijmegen University. Acta Sociologica, Vol. 42, No. 1, 55-68 (1999)
Most of the association is due to a tendency towards occupational similarity between the spouses, though strength of occupational similarity differs between countries and decreases by about 16 per cent between 1975 and 1989, indicating that the social structure of the countries has become more open in this period. By comparing the changes in occupational homogamy of successive birth cohorts over time, we find that when the spouses belonging to a certain birth cohort grow older, their degree of occupational similarity decreases.

Migration and Marriage: Heterogamy and Homogamy in a Changing World - Barbara Waldis, Reginald Byron (Editors). What do social anthropologists have to say about heterogamy and homogamy in situations of movement and flux, and what does this tell us about processes of boundary-definition?

Why does unemployment come in couples? An analysis of (un)employment and (non)employment homogamy tables for Canada, the Netherlands and the United States in the 1980s - WOUT ULTEE, JOS DESSENS and WIM JANSEN, University of Utrecht.
According to one explanation, (un)employment homogamy is a by-product of educational homogamy combined with a relation at the individual level between education and unemployment. Although the existence of educational homogamy could be ascertained, and although in these countries unemployment is higher when education is lower, these findings could not fully explain the observed extent of (un)employment homogamy. 
According to a more complex explanation, the phenomenon of (un)employment homogamy will disappear when we allow, after these effects of education, for similar effects of age and region. This was tested for the USA, and did not explain the observed extent of (un)employment homogamy. Findings show that labour market inequalities are aggravated by marriage market outcomes (educational and age homogamy). But, in addition, the finding of persistent couple effects suggests that, apart from labour market and marriage market effects, other processes taking place after marriage make for (un)employment homogamy.

The Effects of Religious Homogamy on Marital Satisfaction and Stability 
TIM B. HEATON, EDITH L. PRATT, Brigham Young University 
Journal of Family Issues, Vol. 11, No. 2, 191-207 (1990).
Previous studies have indicated a relationship between religious homogamy and marital satisfaction and stability. Using loglinear analysis of national survey data, this study tested the effects of three types of religious homogamy, namely, denominational affiliation, church attendance, and belief in the Bible. Results indicated that denominational affiliation homogamy is the most critical, with church attendance homogamy contributing slightly to marital success.

Religious Homogamy and Marital Happiness - SUZANNE T. ORTEGA, HUGH P. WHITT, J. ALLEN WILLIAM, Jr., University of Nebraska-Lincoln Journal of Family Issues, Vol. 9, No. 2, 224-239 (1988)
Data from married Protestants and Catholics were used to examine the relationship between religious homogamy and marital happiness. Although couples may vary in the extent to which they share religious views, previous research has treated religious homogamy as a dichotomy; a couple is either homogamous or it is not. In the present study religious bodies were classified on the basis of doctrine and ritual, yielding six categories: Baptism, Calvinism, Catholicism, fundamentalism, Lutheranism, and Methodism.

Social Integration, Heterogeneity, and Divorce: The Case of the Swedish-speaking Population in Finland - Acta Sociologica, Vol. 40, No. 3, 263-277. 1997 Scandinavian Sociological Association.
The study compared marital stability in Finland with focus on the two language groups. The divorce rate was remarkably lower among the Swedish-speaking minority than among the Finnish-speaking majority. The assumption about the effect of social integration was also supported by covariates measuring urbanisation and individual migration. A hypothesis that marital homogamy rather than heterogamy reduces the divorce rate found support only with respect to the language of the spouses but not with respect to level of education or age.

Spatial homogamy in the Netherlands: mapping distances between partners
Karen Haandrikman, Leo van Wissen, Carel Harmsen and Inge Hutter.
To what extent are partners spatially homogamous in the Netherlands? Can regional and spatial patterns concerning spatial homogamy be identified?
Partners are homogamous regarding age, education, occupation, social origin, religion and geographical origin. The spatial dimension has been underexposed in research on recent marriage patterns. In earlier studies, spatial homogamy, the similarity of partners regarding geographical background, is mentioned.

Ono, Hiromi. 2006. "Homogamy among the Divorced and the Never Married on Marital History in Recent Decades: Evidence from Vital Statistics Data." Social Science Research 35 (2): 356-383. 
I find evidence of a tendency toward marital history homogamy beyond that accounted for by relative group size, education, and age. The never married and the divorced are more likely to marry within their marital history group than to intermarry. Results also indicate that, although the tendency toward marital history homogamy unaccounted for by group size, age, and education persisted throughout the period 1970-1988, it did diminish.

Matthijs Kalmijn, Department of Sociology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 24: 395-421 (Volume publication date August 1998) Abstract: People have a tendency to marry within their social group or to marry a person who is close to them in status. Sociologists have most often examined endogamy and homogamy with respect to race/ethnicity, religion, and socioeconomic status. I first give an overview of hypotheses on the causes of endogamy and homogamy. I summarize empirical evidence by answering four questions: To what extent are groups endogamous and how do groups differ in this respect? How has endogamy changed over time? Which factors are related to endogamy?

Searching for homogamy: an in-class exercise. An article from: College Student Journall - Lecture and discussion of homogamy as a guiding principle to identify a partner with whom one is likely to have a happy and durable marriage preceded playing the exercise.

Books on Homogamy

Searching for homogamy: an in-class exercise. An article from: College Student Journal. [HTML] [Digital]

Migration and Marriage: Heterogamy and Homogamy in a Changing World - Barbara Waldis, Reginald Byron (Editors).