Journal of Undergraduate Research


college gender ratios, assortative marriage, gender ratio, demographic features


Family, Home, and Social Sciences




It has been well-documented that the latter half of the 20th century and the early 21st century has seen vast upheavals in the societal roles of males and females in Western society. One noted result of this gender revolution is the striking change in college gender ratios—in the US, for example, the male-to-female college gender ratio changed from 1.6 in 1960 to .74 in 2003 (see also Figure 1). These changes in college gender ratios can have profound impacts on marriage and family patterns seen in society. For example, a recent Time Magazine Article examined the effects of a lowered male-to-female ratio on marriage patterns among Mormons in Utah, finding that a dearth of males has led to a higher average age at marriage and a more sexually permissive culture.1 At the same time, economists and sociologists have documented an increase in educational assortative marriages, or marriages between individuals of similar educational background, over the last several decades2 (see Greenwood et al, 2014, and Schwartz and Mare, 2003 for example). Most similar studies have focused on gender ratios in the overall population or within specific ethnic groups; this study, however, examines whether or not changes in the gender ratio within a specific subpopulation of note, namely among college students, has an effect on particular marriage patterns observed in society as a whole.

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