Homophily is the tendency of people to form and maintain interpersonal relationships with those who are similar to ways that are important to them. In the 1950s, Paul Lazarsfeld and Robert K. Merton coined the term homophily; however, the salience of homophily for social relationships can be traced as far back as Emile Durkheim’s writings on group solidarity in the 19th century. Although the term is associated most closely with sociology, the principles of homophily have been of interest to scholars in a wide array of disciplines including psychology, communication, economics, anthropology, human development, gerontology, philosophy, political science, epidemiology, and public health. The reason that homophily has garnered such attention is that it helps to explain processes as diverse as why individuals choose particular life ...

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