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Partner choice in Sweden: How distance still matters
Uppsala University. Stockholm Univ, Stockholm, Sweden.
2019 (English)In: Environment and planning A, ISSN 0308-518X, E-ISSN 1472-3409, Vol. 51, no 2, p. 440-460Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Spatial homogamy, or the geographical closeness of life partners, has received little attention in recent decades. Theoretically, partners may be found anywhere in the world, as increases in educational participation, affluence, mobility and internet access have reduced the meaning of geographical distance in general. This paper examines whether geography still matters in the Swedish partner market, by examining distances between partners before co-residence over time. Register data are used to track the residential histories (1990-2008) of couples who married or had a child in 1996, 2002 or 2008 (N = 292,652). With the couple as the unit of analysis, the distance between partners before co-residence is explained by geographical, socio-economic and demographic indicators. I find that although the distance between partners has increased over time, it is still the case that half of all partners lived within 9 kilometres of each other before moving in together. Demographic and socio-economic characteristics explain some of the variation in spatial homogamy, but geographical factors, such as previous place of residence, spatial mobility, degree of urbanization and nearness of parents, are crucial. Even in a globalized society, most people still find their partners very close by. The findings are relevant to the family migration literature, where residential mobility at the beginning of co-residence has received little attention, despite long-lasting consequences of partner choice on social ties and people's socioeconomic careers. The results exemplify the importance of short geographical distances for intimate relationships.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 51, no 2, p. 440-460
Keywords [en]
Partner choice, marriage, co-residence, spatial homogamy, Sweden
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-379030DOI: 10.1177/0308518X18786726ISI: 000458894300011OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-379030DiVA, id: diva2:1295562
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 340-2013-5164Available from: 2019-03-12 Created: 2019-03-12 Last updated: 2019-03-12Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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