The effects of ethnicity and educational attainment on Jewish marriage patterns: Changes in Israel, 1957-1995

B. S. Okun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


This paper presents a study of changes in marriage patterns among the Jewish population of Israel over nearly 40 years. Using data from four Israeli Censuses spanning experience from the late 1950s to the mid 1990s, we employ Schoen's harmonic mean model in a multivariate framework to consider, simultaneously, changes over time in age-specific marriage rates by ethnicity and educational attainment. Our analyses point to a number of clear and interesting findings: (1) an increasingly positive association between marriage and educational attainment, especially for women; (2) the continuing central role of ethnicity in mate selection, despite important declines in ethnic endogamy over the period; (3) a decrease in the prominence of unions of 'exchange'; (4) some evidence of increasing 'block' endogamy among Jews of Asian and African origin; and (5) a small increase in educational homogamy over the period. Interpretations and implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)49-64
Number of pages16
JournalPopulation Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Barbara S. Okun is Senior Lecturer, Department of Population Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mt. Scopus Campus, 91905 Jerusalem, ISRAEL. Email: This research was supported by a grant from the Israel Foundations Trustees, 1998-2000. The author thanks Zvi Eisenbach, Dov Friedlander, Uzi Rebhun, Jona Schellekens, Yossi Shavit, Guy Stecklov, and Haya Stier for informative discussions and helpful comments on previous versions of this paper. Thanks also go to Ahmad Hleihel and Sigalit Shmueli of the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics for assistance with data preparation.

RAMBI Publications

  • Rambi Publications
  • Israel -- History
  • Israel -- Social conditions
  • Jewish marriage customs and rites -- History
  • Marriage (Jewish law) -- History


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