Who Will be Next? Intra- Versus Interethnic Partner Choices after Union Dissolution in Germany

Olga Gr├╝nwald, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)

Prior research on interethnic partner choices has identified that higher order unions are more heterogamous. To what degree previous experiences of interethnic partnerships are linked to the next partner choice re­main unclear. This is important because partner choices after the dissolution of interethnic unions can indicate if intermarriage is, in fact, the final step of the social integra­tion process of immigrant populations. If after a failed intermarriage, individuals return to their ethnic group for the next union, the positive link between integration and intermarriage might be too premature.

This study investigates the effect of an interethnic first marriage on the subsequent interethnic partner choice of native Germans, different migrant groups and their de­scendants.

I use data from 32 waves of the German Socioeconomic Panel and run logistic regression models. The second partner choice is the dependent variable and the type of first marriage represents the main independent variable. Also, sociodemographic and religious differences between partners in the previous and current union are part of the analyses. The analytical sample consists of 467 individuals. They have experienced the dissolution of their first marriage and have repartnered during their participation in SOEP. Also, their first and second partner took part in SOEP so that information on differences between partners is also available.

Preliminary findings suggest that an interethnic first marriage does not hinder another interethnic partner choice. Interactions between ethnic heterogeneity and other types of heterogeneity (education, age, occupational prestige, religious affiliation) show that an interethnic second partner choice is linked to the previous experience of an interethnic union if no other differences between partners were present.

The argument that interethnic unions signal social integration is most likely not too premature, because although differences are present between partners, they are still more likely to choose the same type of union as before.

Presented in Session 2: Union Formation and Dissolution among Immigrants