The Ivy Coach Daily

July 26, 2023

Which Ivy League Alums Are Most Likely to Marry Each Other?

A castle-like building behind a flowering tree is featured at Princeton University.
Princeton alums love Princeton alums (photo credit: David Keddie).

Previously Published on May 14, 2018:

One of the advantages of attending an Ivy League university is the opportunity to surround oneself with other intellectually curious and talented young people. These intellectually curious and talented young people can become lifelong friends. They can become business contacts and casual acquaintances. And, yes, one special someone can become a life partner. 

A few years back, an article in The New York Times by Kevin Carey entitled “The Ivy League Students Least Likely to Get Married” shined a spotlight on the number of marriages between alumni of each Ivy League school. So which Ivy League school’s alums love to marry each other the most?

Princeton Leads the Ivies in Alums Marrying Fellow Alums

Among Ivy League alumni born between 1980 and 1984, Princeton University alums often love to marry fellow alums.

Below is a ranking of the eight Ivy League schools based on the percentage of alums born between these years who’ve married fellow alums. Hey, we do love our rankings!

Ivy League SchoolMarriage Ranking
Princeton University#1
Dartmouth College#2
Columbia University#3
Harvard University#4
Brown University#5
Yale University#6
Cornell University#7
University of Pennsylvania#8

MIT, Duke, and Stanford Alums Love Each Other Too

Outside of the Ivies, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Duke University, and Stanford University all place above UPenn. But, interestingly, it’s Concordia University – Wisconsin that tops the ranking — ahead even of Princeton. We sure do wonder what’s in the water at Concordia!

Princeton Touts its Matrimonial Data

As Carey writes in his New York Times piece, “Princetonians like to marry one another. Although the university is coy about the exact number of Tiger-Tiger marriages, Princeton tour guides are often asked about matrimonial prospects, and sometimes include apocryphal statistics — 50 percent! Maybe 75! — in their patter. With an insular campus social scene, annual reunions and a network of alumni organizations in most major cities, opportunities to find a special someone wearing orange and black are many.”

Marriage Rate for Ivy League Grads Varies by Income Bracket

Interestingly, wealthier Princeton alums tend to marry at a rate higher than their less affluent peers.

As Carey writes, “But for Princeton alumni from the lowest-income households — the bottom one-fifth compared with the top one-fifth — the trends are different. Only a third were married by 2014. This pattern holds for other elite colleges and universities. For people born over the five years from 1980 to 1984, the marriage rate for upper-income students who attended Ivy League institutions was 14 percentage points higher than the rate for lower-income students.”

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Match in College

We’re often asked at Ivy Coach why students should attend an Ivy League or similarly selective university. Our answer has never been that the in-classroom experience at Cornell is better than the in-classroom experience at the University of Missouri.

Our answer has always been that when one attends an Ivy League school or one of its peers, one surrounds oneself with fellow intellectually curious, engaging young people who endeavor to change the world. And, sometimes, yes, they’ll even get married. Maybe we should add that extra flourish.

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