Mate Selection Behavior of GED Recipients

Kate H. Choi, Brandon G. Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The General Educational Development (GED) degree is designed to be a credential equivalent to the high school diploma. However, growing evidence indicates that GED recipients have worse outcomes than high school graduates. Such findings raise the question: is the GED socially equivalent to the high school diploma? Although educational assortative mating patterns have long been used as a barometer of the social distance across educational groups, there has not been a study that has addressed this question by examining the marital sorting patterns of GED recipients. Using log-linear models, our study shows that the odds of intermarriage between GED recipients and high school graduates resemble those between GED recipients and those without a secondary degree. Racial/ethnic minorities had greater difficulty crossing the GED/high school graduate boundary when they married. Our findings detract from the purported view that the GED degree is equivalent to a traditional high school diploma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1525-1546
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • GED
  • educational assortative mating
  • high school diploma
  • intermarriage


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