New Boundaries on the Marriage Market: Are the First and Second Marriage Market Segregated and Who Crosses the Line?

Anne-Rigt Poortman, Utrecht University

Because of the rise in divorce and separation, the marriage market has become increasingly diverse as to singles’ relationship histories. Consequently, a new boundary may have emerged on the marriage market. This study examines similarity in partners’ relationship history to show whether the first and second marriage market are segregated. Using several Dutch data sets, I find a strong tendency towards homogamy on marital, union and parental history, even after controlling for structural meeting chances. Against expectations, partner similarities are equally strong in marriage and cohabitation. The highest homogamy rates are found for prior union history, suggesting that the strongest dividing line is between those with and without any union experiences. Analyses examining who crosses this line show that indicators for progressive attitudes, such as parental divorce and religiosity, are the most important determinants, much more so than greater restrictions on the marriage market due to few socioeconomic resources.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 3