Long Term Trends in Age Assortative Mating: Spain, 1922-2004

Albert Esteve, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Clara Cortina, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Anna Cabré, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Joaquin Recano-Valverde, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

In this paper (i) we describe long term trends in age assortative mating using vital registration data of all marriages contracted in Spain between 1922 and 2004; (ii) we examine these trends to distinguish between change in the availability of eligible candidates and change in the force of attraction by using a marriage matching function that links actual marriage to the population of men and women simultaneously at risk; and (iii) we further explore trends in the force of attraction to analyze the intensity and changes in age homogamy and the degree of symmetry between male and female patterns. Besides the fact of using Spanish instead of U.S. data, the analysis covers a period of 82 years in which distinct marriage market scenarios arose. Thus, alternative hypotheses about how marriage market constraints modify age patterns of union formation can be tested.

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Presented in Session 175: Marital Relationships and Children: Historical Perspectives