Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Marital Matching Among US Residents: A Comparison by Region of Origin




Seidman College of Business

Date Range



This paper examines how equilibrium sorting takes place in marriages between immigrants in the US from Mexico, Asia, the Middle East, Central America, South America, Europe and Africa. For comparison purposes it also examines patterns of marital matching observed between men and women born in the US. To do so, the paper constructs an empirical model of spouse selection based on Becker's efficient marriage market hypothesis. Using the IPUM Series of the 2000 Census the paper finds support for positive assortative mating on age, education, hours worked and income in all regions examined with the exception of immigrants from Mexico and Asia for whom negative assortative mating on income is found. In contrast, results reveal complete specialization in US households with negative assortative mating on both hours worked and income. In examining matching patterns to isolate the factors that affect marital choice results indicate that while age of the female drives the matching process in all regions of the world examined, it is the hours worked by the male that affects mate selection and the organization of marriage markets among immigrants from Mexico, Asia, Central American, South America and Africa. In marriages between immigrants from the Middle East, Europe and among Americans it is the years of schooling of the male that has the largest impact on marital matching. Finally, estimated match matrices employing multiple individual traits reveal that American men are most likely to marry women with similar traits followed by men from Central America.

Conference Name

International Atlantic Economic Conference

Conference Location

Athens, Greece

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