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If the trends in education continue, prevalence in educational hypergamy will continue to decrease, researchers say.This scenario suggests that the increase in education level amongst women can have important effects on traditional relationship models and represents a step forward in reaching symmetry when forming relationships.To do this they gathered data from 138 censuses in 56 countries, dating from 1968 to 2009.The research was published in The study concludes that higher education levels in women has a direct effect on union formation.The research also sets the bases to delve deeper into the social dimensions this change in model may represent.The study conducted by Albert Esteve, Joan Garcia-Roman and Iñaki Permanyer analyses the effects on couples when there are more women than men with university studies.

Albert Esteve considers that "now we must focus on studying the hypogamy model, not only on educational aspects, but also when the woman is the main income earner which, in these times of crisis, is becoming increasingly the case." The study calls for more research -- from a wider perspective -- on the consequences these changes may have in the distribution of gender roles. How will each person's expectation affect the relationship?

Researchers analysed both married couples and partners living together, creating an index to measure the educational difference between men and women, and another index to measure the prevalence of hypergamy over hypogamy couples when related to education.

With only a few exceptions, there is a steady decrease in the level of educational hypergamy in both advanced and developing countries, although there continues to be significant differences between these countries.

Such is the effect that in countries in which there are more women than men with university studies, the number of couples in which the woman unites "downwards" (with a man with lesser studies) surpasses those who unite "upwards" (with a man with more studies).

Traditionally in heterosexual couples, the dominating pattern existing was the educational hypergamy of the woman, a type of relationship in which the woman marries a man with a higher educational attainment and in which there are important gender differences.

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