Behavior Genetics

, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 596–602 | Cite as

Assortative Mating for Educational Level in Parents of Public School Children (N > 7000 Individuals) in the Lagos State, Nigeria

  • Yoon-Mi HurEmail author
Brief Communication


Assortative mating for educational level is a widespread phenomenon in Western industrialized societies. However, whether or not the results from Western samples can be generalizable to populations in developing countries in Africa remains to be seen. The present study investigated assortative mating for educational level in parents of public school children (N > 7000) in the Lagos State in Nigeria. Approximately 61.5 % of the parents had spouses at the same level of education. More mothers than fathers married upward in educational level. The assortative mating coefficients for educational level were .52–.61 across respondents’ classes, .51–.62 across six school districts, and .57 (.55–.59) in the total sample. Overall, these results were very similar to the findings from Western or Asian samples, providing evidence to support the robustness of human mating pattern in educational attainment across different cultures and ethnic groups. The present findings should be incorporated in future quantitative and molecular genetic studies on Africans.


Assortative mating Education Social inequality Mate selection 



This study was supported by the Pioneer Fund (USA), Charles Darwin Research Institute (USA), and Ulster Institute for Social Research (UK). I would like to thank students who participated in this study and school teachers and principals, and the staff members in the Universal Education Board and the Ministry of Education in the Lagos State who kindly assisted this study. Special thanks are given to research assistants including Francis Annie Nero, Funmi Nutayi, Hammed Balogun, and Johnson Lawal.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author has no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights and informed consent

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Health Research and Ethics Committee. Informed consent was obtained from participants in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationMokpo National UniversityJeonnamSouth Korea

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