The Role of Neighborhood and Work-Place in the Formation of Ethnically Mixed Partnerships: Evidence from Finland 1999-2014

Allan Puur, Estonian Institute for Population Studies, Tallinn University
Leen Rahnu, Estonian Institute for Population Studies, Tallinn University
Tiit Tammaru, University of Tartu

The formation of ethnically mixed partnerships hinges on many factors that relate to people and places of encounter. We ask whether the probability to start co-habiting or marital union with non-Finnish partner (ie a person whose country of origin is not Finland) is shaped, in addition to other factors, by ethnic composition of one’s neighborhood and place of work. Our study is based on a longitudinal Finnish register data that cover all residents who ever lived in Finland during 1999-2014. Unlike many register-based studies, we focus on natives instead of immigrants. We do so since register data remains blind in the true partnership status of immigrants making it difficult to estimate the at-risk immigrant population for the formation of mixed ethnic partnerships. Our research population is formed by the adult single Finns aged 18 and over. We will employ the event history models separately for Finnish men and women. We find support to the assumption that the propensity to form first partnership with non-Finnish partner is higher for those Finns who live in areas where the proportion of other ethnic groups is higher. Similarly, working in ethnically more diverse enterprise increases the probability of forming mixed partnership. Individual characteristics such as having foreign-born parents, having minority (Swedish) language as a first tongue, having an experience of living in another country, all increase the propensity of forming ethnically mixed partnership. However, controlling for individual and other contextual characteristics only slightly diminishes the contrasts observed in the domains of neighborhood and work-place. This study contributes to previous research because to our knowledge it is not common that studies about mixed partnerships focus on the impact of work-place or model work-place and neighborhood together. We expect to share light on the mechanisms how different domains of encounter facilitate inter-ethnic partnerships.

Presented in Session 2: Union Formation and Dissolution among Immigrants