Geography and partner choice: How far do Swedes travel to find their partner?
Research project by Karen Haandrikman
The spatial dimension of the partner market is a dimension that has received little attention in recent decades. Theoretically, partners may be found anywhere in the world, as increases in educational participation, affluence, social and spatial mobility, and internet access, have reduced the meaning of geographical distance in general. This paper examines the role that geographical distance plays in the current Swedish partner market. The concept of spatial homogamy, or the similarity concerning geographic origin, is supposed to enhance mutual attractiveness, as shared mentality, language and values lead to similar values and opinions. Swedish register data (PLACE) is used to track down the residential histories of those marrying or having a child in Sweden in the period 1990-2008. As the data include geographic coordinates of residence, we can trace when couples where not living together yet, thereby enabling an analysis of the level of spatial homogamy of couples. After a descriptive analysis of spatial homogamy by time and space, the distance between partners before cohabitation or marriage is modelled by a set of factors including year of cohabitation or marriage, geographic characteristics such as partner proximity, workplace location and migration history; demographic attributes such as marital status and having children; and educational level of both partners.
Funding: SIMSAM, Register-based Research in Nordic Demography (Swedish Research Council)
Presented at the 6th International Conference on Population Geographies, 14-17 June 2011, Umeå, Sweden; as a SUDA seminar, Demography Unit of Stockholm University, 9 June 2011; and at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, 12-16 April 2011, Seattle.
April 3, 2012
Page editor: Karen Haandrikman
Source: Department of Human Geography