Intermarriage and divorce in Germany: testing competing hypotheses

Nadja Milewski, University of Rostock
Hill Kulu, University of Liverpool

The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of native-immigrant intermarriage on divorce in Germany. Most studies on this subject have been conducted in the U.S.; there are only handful studies executed in Europe with a focus on marriages of post-war ‘labour migrants’, which is still the dominant migrant group particularly in Northern and Western Europe. We include in our analysis five main ‘labour migrant’ groups in Germany. We apply event-history techniques to a rich longitudinal data-set, the data from the German Socioeconomic Panel (GSOEP). The data allow us to control for many individual and couple characteristics when investigating the effect of migrant-native marriages on divorce including the individual values. The focus is on marriages between German-born persons (‘natives’) and foreign-born individuals (‘immigrants’) from the countries as follows: Italy, Spain, Greece, the former Yugoslavia and Turkey. We compare the divorce risk of about 1,500 immigrant women to that of about 4,700 non-migrants and find overall lower divorce risks for immigrants than non-migrants. Marriages between German-born individuals and immigrants have a higher likelihood of divorce than marriages between two German-born individuals or between two immigrants from the same country.

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Presented in Session 51: Intermarriage