Who marries foreign-born? Understanding intermarriage from the native’s perspective

Albert Esteve, Centre d’Estudis Demogràfics (CED)
Joana Serret, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Antonio López Gay, Centre d'Estudis Demogràfics (CED)

Research on intermarriage has paid modest attention to the societal, structural and individual factors that make non-immigrant and majority groups to marry out of their group. In this paper we argue that this topic is relevant to understand intermarriage patterns in homogeneous societies whose ethnic/origin heterogeneity has increased dramatically in recent years due to international immigration. Based on the Spanish experience, first, we investigate if there is selectivity in the men and women that marry or cohabit with foreign-born compared to those that marry native-born or remain single; and, second, we examine natives’ choices of international migrants by gender. Are women more selective than men with regard to the origin and social attributes of their partners? Do traditional gender differences in attitudes towards marriage and spouse selection reinforce when marrying an international migrant? By lack of appropriate data, our analysis has to rely on various statistical sources and methods: Labor Force Surveys, marriage records and the 2007 National Immigrant Survey.

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Presented in Session 16: International migration and migrant populations

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