The role of geographical distance in the decision making process of partner choice

Karen Haandrikman, University of Groningen
Leo van Wissen, University of Groningen

Many people think they met their partner by chance. However, numerous studies show that the process of partner choice follows regular patterns. Most people choose partners who are similar to themselves, for instance regarding age, educational level, religion, ethnic group, and geographical background. Although on an aggregate level, partner choice occurs according to general patterns, the decision making process to choosing a partner is less well studied. To understand these patterns, one has to go down to the micro level. This study aims to improve our understanding of the process of partner choice in the Netherlands, by adopting a qualitative approach. Which considerations do people make when choosing a partner? What are their preferences, how are they influenced by social norms, and by the opportunities to meet partners? Based on previous findings, we have a specific interest in the role of geographical distance and local cultural differences on partner choice.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Fertility, family and children