Patterns of Same-Sex Partner Choice in Germany

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 09:12
Oral Presentation
Andrea LENGERER, GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Germany
Julia SCHROEDTER, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Whereas acceptance of same-sex partnerships has been increasing in Western societies, research on same-sex partner choice is still scarce. Due to the small number of same-sex couples, large datasets are needed to identify patterns. Our empirical study is based on German Microcensus data – an annually official household survey representing 1% of the population in Germany – from 1996 to 2013. This database allows us on the one hand – and for the first time – to trace trends of same-sex partnerships for a period of almost twenty years and on the other hand to analyze their patterns of partner choice.

Our empirical analysis focuses on assortative mating behavior. We compare same-sex and different-sex couples with respect to age and educational homogamy. Moreover, the large dataset allows us to differentiate between female and male same-sex partnerships as well as to account for changes in assortative mating over time.

We assume that same-sex partnerships are less homogenous than different-sex partnerships. One reason is that social norms about partner choice do not or only to a lesser extent apply to same-sex couples. More importantly, the pool of potential partners is much smaller for homosexuals than for heterosexuals, so that existing preferences (for homogamy) will be harder to realize. However, over time, we expect an increase in age and educational homogamy of same-sex couples – mainly as a result of increasing opportunities.