Patterns of interethnic marriage in Ghana: 2000 – 2010

  • Rosemary Ayelazuno University of Ghana
Keywords: interethnic marriage, marriage, assortative mating, social stratification


Patterns of assortative mating are informative because they reflect the strength of social boundaries across groups. Ethnic homogamy is particularly important as it provides a useful measure of social cohesion in multi-ethnic societies. This paper investigates the patterns of interethnic marriage in Ghana using the census data of the 2000 and 2010 censuses. Ethnic homogamy is strong in Ghana with 12.3% of the sample being married to a spouse of a different ethnicity. The likelihood of being in an interethnic marriage varies widely by demographic characteristics. Younger people are significantly more likely to intermarry suggesting that ethnic boundaries tend to become more open over time. Educational attainment significantly increases the propensity for intermarriage supporting the hypothesis that education offers opportunities to join more ethnically diverse networks. Intermarriage is more prevalent in urban areas likely due to the greater ethnic diversity of urban populations. Ethnic minorities tend to intermarry more, which is consistent with the theory that smaller groups face greater marriage market constraints