Marrying Up? Trends in Age and Education Gaps Among Married Couples in Indonesia

Abstract

Using Indonesian National Socioeconomic Surveys, this article outlines the trends in spousal differences in age and educational
attainment from a sample of matched husband–wife data in the early 1980s and 2010. The spousal age gap has declined from 6.4
to 4.7 in the three decades. A trend in assortative mating is maintained as 50% of married couples have equal education levels
in both 1982 and 2010. The proportion of women marrying someone of higher education is declining, and conversely, the proportion
of women “marrying down” is rising. Higher level of wife’s education and increasing age at first marriage are found to be
negatively associated with spousal age gap. Along with development, social change, and the recent accomplishment toward gender
parity across all education levels in the country, changing patterns in such gaps are bound to transform gender relations
and the power dynamics within Indonesian families.

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