Philosophy Majors Are Less Likely To Marry Each Other (updated)


Only 5% of “philosophy or religious studies” majors end up marrying other “philosophy or religious studies” majors, according to an analysis of census data by Dan Kopf at Priceonomics this past summer. This makes it one of the least common majors shared by married couples. Since, in the Census data, philosophy is lumped in with religious studies, we don’t know what the exact figure is just for philosophy majors. (Do you think it would be higher of lower?)

On the chart below, “philosophy and religious studies” is ranked 43rd out of 50.

Marrying Majors people chart

When broken down by gender, the results are that 9% of women philosophy or religious studies majors marry others who share their major, while only 4% of men do. What explains this? Kopf writes:

The majors lowest on this list mostly appear there because they are heavily tilted towards one sex. For example, due to the paucity of men who study Family and Consumer Sciences, it’s tough for a heterosexual woman to find a match. But those few men in the field have a particularly good shot of finding love in their area of study. The same is true for other individuals who are the minority in a major that tilts heavily towards one sex.

Does anyone know if there is a similar study for PhDs?

(Via Samantha Brennan, who initially pointed to this Washington Post article about the study.)

UPDATE: As Tom Hurka and Jason Brennan note in the comments below, Kopf’s analysis does not take the total number of people who share a major into account.  Jason writes: “philosophy and religious studies make up 0.7% of all college majors… Suppose college grads only marry each other. Suppose people were married other majors at random. Then, at base, you’d expect only about .49% of philosophy majors to marry each other. We’re getting an effect an order of magnitude above that. So, the chart actually says that philosophy majors are unusually likely to marry other philosophy majors.”

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