Similarity or Complementarity, Which Makes Happier Marriages: Assortative Mating and Marital Satisfaction for First Marriages in China, 2006

Zheng Mu, University of Michigan

This study addresses the questions of which domains (demographic, socioeconomic and family origin characteristics) of assortative mating are more powerful predictors of marital satisfactions for couples in China and what are the respective directions of those links. I utilize the national-representative 2006 China General Social Survey. Ordinal logistic models accounting for the complex sampling design are estimated respectively for husbands and wives. Results are mixed across different domains of assortative mating, varying measures of assortative mating, different models as well as across gender. Within those significant estimates, there seem to be a uniform positive link between spousal similarity and marital satisfaction with only two exceptions. There are gender differences in the importance of varying domains. While men mainly obtain higher levels of marital satisfaction through assortative mating based on ascribed characteristics (demographic and family origin), women achieve satisfaction through that based on both ascribed and achieved characteristics (demographic and socioeconomic).

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Presented in Poster Session 7