Racial, Educational, and Religious Endogamy in Comparative Historical Perspective

Michael J. Rosenfeld, Stanford University

This paper attempts to draw broad comparisons between marriage patterns by race, by education, and by religion in the U.S. over time. I use census data for race and education, and a variety of data sources for religious intermarriage. The comparative approach allows several general conclusions. First, racial endogamy has declined sharply over the 20th century, but race is still the most powerful division in the marriage market. Second, higher education has little effect on racial endogamy for blacks and whites. Third, religious endogamy has declined over time but the decline predates 1970 and therefore can only be appreciated by comparing different data sources. Fourth, educational endogamy has changed over time, but the scale of the changes in educational endogamy is fairly small compared to changes in racial endogamy.

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Presented in Session 173: Changes in Union Formation over Time