Thursday, 27 March 2008

Educational Homogamy - What It Is and Why It Matters

Never heard of the word "homogamy" before? I must admit neither had I till today despite many years in schools and a fair penchant for reading.

It's time to memorize this word (and for Blogger to add the word to its spell-check dictionary), which in the phrase "educational homogamy" means "the tendency of men and women with the same level of education to be married to one another".

Why is it important? ... because educational homogamy has been increasing steadily for the last three decades in both Canada and the United States - more and more people marry within their educational level such as university grads marrying university grads - and couples with university education have higher family income. More than half of young Canadian and American adults now marry someone of their own educational level. All this is laid out in the Stats Can research study The Changing Role of Education in the Marriage Market by Feng Hou and John Miles of May 2007. When I think about my family and friends, the above findings hold true more or less in every case.

Now I may be confusing effect and cause but it therefore seems to me that this study offers more evidence that advocating to one's kids to undertake advanced education will be good for them. Mind you, the study does not look at whether marriage breakdown rates are higher amongst people who marry above or below their 'educational class'.

Here's a telling quote from the study: "... well-educated men and women tend to marry one another and form families with high earnings and few risks of unemployment. Less well-educated couples have lower wages, and both partners are far more likely to experience periods without work." And so we have another cool phrase to drop into conversations - earnings homogamy!

The de facto social discrimination that has emerged is not religion, creed, colour, race, ethnic origin, age or sex, it's education! Imagine that, the school system as the new class differentiator. Think of the implications: How will the government stamp that out? Should people in those speed dating events start by asking "how far did you go in school?"

I must fess up to being felicitously educationally and pecuniarily homogamous, as well as being culinarily and aesthetically homogamous, though I am only partially recreationally homogamous and definitely not televisionally so (Coronation Street, arrgghhhh!).

3 comments: said...

I can hear the theme song now... My better half is half Irish and half Scottish and both sides of her family are Coronation Street junkies.

I tend to blog away at the dinner table while they watch the nightly fix, and I'll admit that I follow the story lines.

But I would never watch it by myself. lol


Anonymous said...

My initial impression was homogamy referred to gay marriage!

CanadianInvestor said...

CC, nope not gay at all, the study refers throughout only to "gamy" of the "hetero" kind. So I am a monoheterohomogamist.

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