Binational intra-European marriages: the case of Sweden

Karen Haandrikman, Stockholm University

Sweden joined the EU in 1995, in a period when large numbers of relatives of previous labour migrants together with refugees entered the country. The country has been known for its liberal attitude towards migrants, and migrants have almost equal rights compared to natives, even when they do not have Swedish citizenship. This paper focuses on euromarriages, or marriages between natives and migrants from other EU countries. The paper will outline recent trends in binational marriages, specified by country of origin and gender. Register data on the whole Swedish population is used for the analysis. From the beginning of the 1990s to the end of the 2000s, the share of binational marriages has increased from 14 to 20 percent. However, the share of binational euromarriages has been stable over time, while binational marriages with partners from outside Europe have increased. Patterns of euromarriages are highly gender-specific. While Finland is the most important country of origin for mixed marriages for both Swedish men and women, men increasingly marry Eastern European women, while Swedish women tend to prefer Western European men. Mapping the geographical patterns of border marriages shows different clustering patterns for migrants from the Nordic countries. Multivariate analyses will indicate which characteristics distinguish partners in an euromarriage from those in native-native marriages and marriages between natives and partners from outside of Europe.

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Presented in Session 51: Intermarriage