Sonalde Desai, Univ. of Maryland
Title: Beyond the End of Hypergamy: Increase in Educational Hypogamy in India
ABSTRACT: 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. While a decrease in hypergamy is often accompanied by increasing homogamy (women marrying men with equal levels of education), our analyses for India, based on the India Human Development Survey, a nationally representative survey, document a surprising 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 while hypogamous marriages continue to increase even after marginal distribution is taken into account. Further multivariate analyses show that highly educated women tend to marry men with lower education but from more privileged families. Moreover, women with non-elite college education (measured as majoring in humanities and social sciences) are increasingly more likely to be involved in hypogamous marriages. We argue that the rise in hypogamous marriage by education paradoxically reflects deep-rooted gender scripts in India, as other salient social boundaries such as caste, religion, and family socioeconomic status, are much more difficult to cross.