How do children of mixed partnerships fare in the United Kingdom? Understanding the implications for children of parental ethnic homogamy and heterogamy

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

September 15, 2012


Many claims are made about the significance of interethnic partnerships for individuals and for society. Such partnerships continue to be seen as a "barometer" of the openness of society and have spawned extensive analysis investigating their patterns, trends, and determinants. But we know little about the experience of children growing up in families of mixed parentage. In the United Kingdom, the increase in the self-defined "mixed" population is often celebrated. But there has been little quantitative sociological analysis that has investigated the circumstances of the children of mixed ethnicity partnerships. Using two large-scale UK datasets that cover a similar period, this article evaluates the extent to which mixed parentage families are associated with circumstances (both economic and in terms of family structure) that tend to be positive or negative for children's future life chances and how these compare to those of children with parents from the same ethnic group. It shows that there is substantial variation according to the outcome considered but also according to ethnic group. Overall, children in mixed parentage families do not unequivocally experience the equality of outcomes with majority group children that the assimilation hypothesis implies.

Published in

Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

Volume and page numbers

Volume: 643 , p.239 -266






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