How many Facebook users left high school or college with both a diploma and a spouse or future spouse? The Facebook Data Science Team did some digging to find out.
Researchers Sofus Attila Macskassy and Lada Adamic wrote in a note on the Facebook Data Science page that they examined aggregate, anonymized data on all U.S. couples who list themselves as married to each other on Facebook, explaining their methodology as follows:
If we observe that two people attended the same school within four years of each other, then we count that toward a school’s ability to introduce future spouses (its spouse rate is s/n, where s equals the number of Facebook users who attended the college and who specify a spouse who attended the same school, and n equals the number of Facebook users who attended the college and specified a spouse who specified a school).
If they share more than one school, then we only count the first school (i.e., if they attended both the same high school and college, then we only count the high school).
Finally, we only consider people who were at least 25 years old at the time we collected the data.
Highlights of their findings included:
- Some 15 percent of individuals attended the same high schools as their spouses, which was less likely for high schools in densely populated areas.
- About 28 percent of married college students attended the same colleges.
- Although many of the colleges that made the list are religious institutions, Macskassy and Adamic said, “We observed a weak-to-moderate correlation (ρ = 0.40) between the ratio of religious to non, and the likelihood that a woman attended the same college as her spouse.”
- The correlation between marriage rate and conservativism in politics was 0.34 (Spearman’s ρ).
As for whether the universities’ student bodies were made up of mostly men, or mostly women, they wrote of the women’s and men’s top 25, respectively:
We first rank the colleges by the proportion of women attending a college who also had a spouse at the same college. We note that a majority of colleges in the top 25 have a religious affiliation. We also see that while the majority have an even proportion of men and women, nine of the top 25 colleges have more men than women, with the top college (Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology) having men make up 88 percent of the student population (the publicly reported ratio is 80/20). Among the top 25, we see a striking 50 percent to 70 percent of women having a spouse who attended the same college.
None of the nine colleges with a large ratio of men to women made it into this list. We also see that all of these colleges have an even gender ratio, so no mostly female colleges made it in here. While the highest rates for men marrying fellow alumni did not reach 70 percent as for the females, we do see that 50 percent to 67 percent of men attending these colleges attended the same college as their spouses.
Readers: Did any of the findings by Macskassy and Adamic surprise you?
Image of couple courtesy of Shutterstock.