Facebook researches used math and a lot of profile snooping to discover last week that most married couples who met in college also went to a religious school.
They analyzed data from men and women at least 25 years old who attended 4-year colleges with more than 1,000 married alumni. They found that 28 percent of those couples attended the same college. For women, 64 percent of the top 25 colleges most likely to provide a spouse are religious. For men, all 25 of the top schools are private and religious. Eleven of the 12 colleges that appear on both lists are Christian.
Of course, not everyone posts their marital status on their Facebook profile, and couples might use different names for their colleges. The study clarifies: “Our data only include observations on individuals who are currently married, and who have filled out the corresponding profile information.”
Still, even with the gaps in data, it appears that Christian colleges most often tend to breed marriages.
Edward Blews Jr., president of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, told Religion News Service the correlation may be due to the shared values of students attending Christian colleges: “There’s also the view that young people are sent in part to Christian colleges by their parents and families to find a good Christian spouse. Perhaps at the Christian college there may be a bit more pressure on students to find that good Christian spouse before they finish their four years and go out into a very different and diverse world.”
Blews said he met his wife at Seattle Pacific University, and their shared values played a large role in their relationship: “We keenly understood the theological perspective that we shared, the culture in which we grew up. For us that really did lead us to become soul mates.”
In addition to being religious, it helps if the college has an even ratio of men and women. While all the top 12 colleges are religious institutions, the study reports that “all of these colleges have an even gender ratio.”
- Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary, Ankeny, Iowa
- Harding University, Searcy, Ark.
- Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn.
- Bob Jones University, Greenville, S.C.
- Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
- Freed-Hardeman University, Henderson, Tenn.
- Maranatha Baptist Bible College, Watertown, Wis.
- Dordt College, Sioux Center, Iowa
- Baptist Bible College, Springfield, Mo.
- Oklahoma Christian University, Edmond, Okla.
- Kentucky Christian University, Grayson, Ky.
- Johnson University, Knoxville, Tenn.