Co-ethnic marriage versus intermarriage among immigrants and their descendants: a comparison across seven European countries using event-history analysis

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

September 18, 2018


Background: Immigrants and their descendants often marry a co-ethnic partner despite the abundance of native-born marriage candidates. The prevalence of co-ethnic marriages and intermarriage among migrants is influenced by their integration level and cultural background as much as individual preferences and structural factors.

Objective: This paper expands existing literature on intermarriage by analysing first marriages across European countries, distinguishing marriage type (endogamous versus exogamous) and migrant generations (immigrants versus their descendants).

Methods: Data from seven countries was aggregated using the count-data method and was subsequently pooled and analysed together; first, to estimate unadjusted first marriage rates; second, to calculate marriage risks separately by marriage type; and, finally, to directly compare the risk of exogamous and endogamous marriage.

Results: There are substantial differences in the prevalence of co-ethnic marriage and intermarriage across the migrant groups. Migrants from non-EU countries often show a high prevalence of co-ethnic marriages and a low risk of intermarriage, whereas migrants from neighbouring countries show a relatively high risk of intermarriage.

Conclusions: Ethnic background and early socialisation have strong impacts on the partner choice of migrants and their descendants. The results suggest a strong influence of minority subcultures for some migrant groups, but also intergenerational adaptation processes for others.

Contribution: This paper provides an up-to-date comparison of intermarriage rates across seven European countries and two migrant generations, presenting evidence of both similarities and differences across countries.

Published in

Demographic Research

Volume and page numbers

Volume: 39 , p.487 -524






Open Access

© 2018 Tina Hannemann et al.

This open-access work is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Germany (CC BY 3.0 DE), which permits use, reproduction, and distribution in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are given credit. See



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