Regional variation in short distance homogamy

Karen Haandrikman, Leo J.G. van Wissen



A third of all Dutch cohabiters choose a partner from the same municipality, so-called short distance homogamy. This article analyses the regional variation in this phenomenon, and it explains this variation in terms of geographical, socioeconomic, demographic and cultural determinants. Population register data on all new cohabiters in 2004 were used. Regression methods were employed to explain spatial patterns. Regional variation in short distance homogamy is largely explained by geographical and socioeconomic indicators, namely the size of an area, the degree of urbanisation, and the level of education and income of inhabitants. Moreover, cultural differences between regions contribute to spatial differences in short distance homogamy. Culture, geography and socio-economic class determine the predominant spatial patterns of social contact, including the choice of a life partner.


Karen HAANDRIKMAN, Postdoctoral researcher, Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden. E-mail: J.G. VAN WISSEN, Professor, Population Research Centre, University of Groningen, PO Box 800, 9700 AV Groningen, Netherlands; and Director, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic  Institute, PO Box 11650, 2502 AR The Hague, Netherlands E-mail:














partner choice; homogamy; the Netherlands; weighted regression; spatial patterns

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ISSN: 2035-5556

Reg. Tribunale di Roma n. 3321/54