Friendship networks and the formation of interethnic unions: A dynamic analysis of the children of immigrants

Pascale I. van Zantvliet, Tilburg University
Matthijs Kalmijn, Tilburg University

This article examines the effect of the composition of friendship networks during early adolescence on the likelihood of entering an interethnic union. We analyze panel data from the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study (CILS), which followed 14 year olds into their early twenties. We extend previous research by simultaneously examining the effect of the social context and personal networks and by broadening the type of unions under consideration (i.e., dating and cohabiting unions, in addition to engagements and marriage). We hypothesize that, as a result of both opportunities and preferences, ethnically varied friendship networks will positively affect the likelihood of entering an interethnic union. We expect that the effect of the social network will diminish when controlling for friendship networks because of the intermediary role it plays. Our second hypothesis is that the effect of the friendship network is stronger for entering interethnic marriage than interethnic cohabitation, and stronger for interethnic cohabitation than interethnic dating, as a result of normative pressures.

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Presented in Session 16: International migration and migrant populations