The Emergence of Educational Hypogamy in India




Lin, Zhiyong
Desai, Sonalde
Chen, Feinian

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Duke University Press


With rising education among women across the world, educational hypergamy (women marrying men with higher education) has decreased over the last few decades in both developed and developing countries. Although a decrease in hypergamy is often accompanied by increasing homogamy (women marrying men with equal levels of education), our analyses for India based on a nationally representative survey of India (the India Human Development Survey), document a considerable rise in hypogamy (women marrying partners with lower education) during the past four decades. Log-linear analyses further reveal that declining hypergamy is largely generated by the rise in education levels, whereas hypogamous marriages continue to increase even after marginal distributions are taken into account. Further multivariate analyses show that highly educated women tend to marry men with lower education but from more privileged families. Moreover, consanguineous marriages, which exemplify strong cultural constraints on spousal selection in certain parts of India, are more likely to be hypogamous than marriages not related by blood. We argue that the rise in hypogamous marriage by education paradoxically reflects deep-rooted gender scripts in India given that other salient social boundaries are much more difficult to cross.



assortative mating, gender, education, India


Lin, Z., Desai, S. & Chen, F. The Emergence of Educational Hypogamy in India. Demography 57, 1215–1240 (2020).