I’m assuming that this is “fair use.” The article from which I clipped this goes on to explain differences between first and later marriages, and how overlapping settings interact, and many other factors involved in partner choice. I got this from PsychInfo, and I don’t think many of yinz have access.
Assortative meeting and mating: unintended consequences of organized settings for partner choices.
Author: Kalmijn, Matthijs.; Flap, Henk. Source: Social Forces v. 79 no4 (June 2001) p. 1289-312 ISSN: 0037-7732
WHICH SETTINGS WERE SHARED BY PROSPECTIVE PARTNERS?The data in Table 2 first indicate that the five settings we consider, account for 42% of the meeting places of contemporary couples. When considering specific types of settings, it appears that schools and kin are the most important: 15% of the couples in our survey visited the same school before they first met, and in nearly 15% of the couples, there were preexisting ties between the families of husband and wife. The remaining settings are less important, although they are not trivial either: around 12% lived in the same neighborhood when growing up, 8% worked in the same firm or organization, and 11% were a member of the same voluntary association. Not reported analyses indicate that there are also couples who shared more than one setting before their relationship began. About 13% shared at least two settings and 4% shared at least three settings. Of the reported combinations of settings, those involving the neighborhood are most common.
To decide if these numbers are high or low, is difficult to say without a benchmark. Information about the sources of personal networks may provide some point of comparison. Feld (1982:799) shows that 12% of people’s network ties originate at work, 17% in the neighborhood, and 7% in voluntary associations. Although one should be careful in comparing because Feld did not allow for overlapping settings, we nonetheless can see that the figures are not all that different. The work and neighborhood contexts seem somewhat less important for marriage partners, whereas voluntary associations seem somewhat more important. Schools may also be more important for marriage partners, but Feld did not provide data on this.
The remaining 58% of the couples did not share an organized setting. This does not mean that these couples shared no setting at all. Of the couples who did not share any of the organized settings we consider, 45% went to the same bars or other outgoing places before they met, and 42% had common friends before they met. In other words, even among these couples, meeting is rarely without context. Nonetheless, bars and networks are contexts that are also used by the couples who did share an organized setting. Of the couples who had an organized setting in common, 42% went to the same bars or other outgoing places before they met, and 52% had common friends. Hence, bars and networks are not alternatives to organized settings. Our comparison between couples who met through organized settings and other couples is therefore not confounded by possible homogenizing effects of other types of meeting places.
Have the settings changed in importance over time? By comparing unions of partner relations which were formed in different periods (marriage cohorts), it is possible to reconstruct whether trends have occurred in the settings spouses had in common (cf. Smeenk 1998). In Table 2, we present percentages for three marriage cohorts after World War II and we test whether possible trends are statistically significant. First of all, there are no clear signs of the marriage market becoming less organized. In all cohorts, around 42% of the couples shared at least one context before they got involved (58% shared no setting). More detailed analyses confirm that organized settings have not decreased in importance over time: the average number of settings is about 0.60 in all three cohorts. When limiting this comparison to couples who have at least one organized setting in common, the average number of settings is about 1.40 in all three cohorts, showing that combinations of settings are not becoming less or more frequent. These findings are not consistent with the sometimes suggested process of unbundling (Coleman 1990). It has been argued in the past that the various needs and functions in everyday life are increasingly fulfilled by specialized and nonoverlapping institutions. Our findings show that when the shared settings of marriage partners are used as an indicator, connections between various different institutions are not becoming looser.
While organized settings as a whole remain important, we do see a change in the type of settings people use. We notice a light decline in the importance of the neighborhood (from 12 in the oldest cohort to 10% in the youngest cohort) and a somewhat stronger decline in the overlap of families of origin (from 19 to 13%). The declining importance of ascriptive settings is in part compensated by a rising importance of settings which can be characterized as achieved. Work organizations and schools have become more important over time, although even in recent cohorts, these are not very important numerically. Voluntary associations turn out to have been as important in the past as they are today. These findings suggest that there has been a shift in relationships being formed in more familiar, ascribed settings like the neighborhood and the family context in which parents have some control, to more public settings like voluntary associations, schools, and work organizations in which parents exert little control.
Do the various social classes meet in different local settings? To answer this question, we present the percentage of couples who share specific settings for each of the four origin classes separately (Table 3). We first notice that the nonmanual classes more often share local settings than the other classes. Members of the service class and routine nonmanual class more often attend the same school, members of the service class more often share a voluntary association, and members of the routine nonmanual class more often work in the same firm or organization before getting involved. Similar results are observed when focusing on class destinations rather than on class origins. These results suggest that the lives of the manual classes are less strongly organized institutionally: they more often shared no organized setting than the other classes and thus rely more on open fields to meet and mate (cf. Bozon & Héran 1989). The only exception to this pattern is that the manual class more often uses the family as a way to meet prospective mates. This also applies to the farm class: among people with farm origins, family overlap is the most frequently used meeting channel.
Differences by religion do not appear to be pronounced, except that the most orthodox group, that of the Re-Reformed Protestants, reveals a deviant pattern. They are more likely than the other groups to have met each other through voluntary associations and schools. This probably reflects the fact that the Re-Reformed are highly involved in their church and that many schools and voluntary associations are church organized. They form about the only pillar in Dutch society that is still standing upright, and they succeed in decreasing meetings of their offspring in the open field by providing shared settings to their own group.
We finally find differences in meeting settings by education and age at marriage. When people postpone marriage, the settings they use change. Family overlap and neighborhoods become less important, and work settings become more important, suggesting that ascribed settings lose their importance as people grow older before getting married. This decline does not appear to be compensated by a rising importance in achieved settings. The percentages of those who met at school do not change, except that the latest marriers, women marrying after age 27, less often attended the same school as their husband. Differences by level of education, finally, show that the highest educated most often use the school as a meeting setting, confirming the idea that higher vocational schools and universities are most favorable toward meeting a spouse.
HOW DO MEETING SETTINGS AFFECT HOMOGAMY?Following prior research