Volume 45 - Article 27 | Pages 857–870  

Trends and educational variation in the association between spouses’ marital histories in South Korea, 1993–2017

By Sangsoo Lee, Hyunjoon Park


Background: Marriages between divorced and never-married individuals indicate a society’s openness to divorce and have implications for children’s well-being. Few studies have examined the association between spouses’ marital histories, its educational variation, and the trends therein outside of the United States.

Objective: Little is known about trends in assortative mating by marital history in more traditional societies, where stigma against divorce often remains. This study examined the changing patterns of assortative mating by marital history in South Korea across 25 single-year marriage cohorts, 1993–2017.

Methods: Calculating the odds ratios from two-by-two marriage tables classifying spouses’ marital histories and also applying individual-level logistic regression models to 7,451,399 marriages formed from 1993 to 2017, we investigated trends in the association between spouses’ marital histories. We further explored heterogeneity in the strength of the association between spouses’ marital histories and its trends over time by spouses’ educational combinations.

Results: The association between spouses’ marital histories has declined over time across all educational groups. However, crossing boundaries of marital history is most difficult in marriages where the man and woman are both college-educated and is easiest in marriages where the man and woman are both non-college-educated.

Contribution: We document the trends in marital history homogamy (which has not received much attention in the literature) in Korea, with distinctive contexts of divorce and remarriage. Presenting educational patterns in the association between spouses’ marital histories is another contribution.

Author's Affiliation

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

US baby boomers’ homeownership trajectories across the life course: A Sequence Analysis approach
Volume 44 - Article 43

Introduction to the special collection on family changes and inequality in East Asia
Volume 44 - Article 40

Diverging gaps in childcare time by parental education in South Korea
Volume 44 - Article 6

Long-term trends in living alone among Korean adults: Age, gender, and educational differences
Volume 32 - Article 43

Effects of single parenthood on educational aspiration and student disengagement in Korea
Volume 18 - Article 13

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

Between money and intimacy: Brideprice, marriage, and women’s position in contemporary China
Volume 50 - Article 46    | Keywords: brideprice, China, divorce, family, family law, gender inequalities, marriage

Are highly educated partners really more gender egalitarian? A couple-level analysis of social class differentials in attitudes and behaviors
Volume 50 - Article 34    | Keywords: attitudes, couple analysis, education, educational level, gender, gender roles, housework, social class differentials

The importance of education for understanding variability of dementia onset in the United States
Volume 50 - Article 26    | Keywords: dementia, education, lifespan variability, modal age, morbidity compression

Measuring the educational gradient of period fertility in 28 European countries: A new approach based on parity-specific fertility estimates
Volume 49 - Article 34    | Keywords: education, Europe, period fertility, quantum, tempo, total fertility rate (TFR)

A Bayesian model for the reconstruction of education- and age-specific fertility rates: An application to African and Latin American countries
Volume 49 - Article 31    | Keywords: age, Bayesian analysis, education, fertility estimation, fertility rates