Gender gaps in intermarriage: The case of Spain

Clara Cortina, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)
Thaís García, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

During the last decade, international immigration flows have undergone a dramatic growth in Spain. Because of the remarkable weight of foreign population intermarriage is of increasing interest in the study of contemporary union formation patterns. Previous research has reported significant and increasing levels of intermarriage, which represented 75.6% of the total marriages involving at least one foreign spouse in 2005. Nevertheless, intermarriages levels show marked disparities by national origin and gender. In this context, the main purpose of this article is to explore how gender shapes intermarriage in Spain. The analysis focuses on the dissimilarities in the assortative mating between men and women and Spanish and foreigners, answering two central questions: first, are partners that intermarry significantly different from those who do not? Furthermore, do their socio-demographic characteristics vary according to sex and national origin? Second, in a context of transformation of gender roles and gender relations within the couple, in which extend are mixed unions more or less homogamous in terms of age and educational attainment than other couples? Does it make a difference whether the native partner is a male or a female? We use microdata from a 5% sample of the Spanish 2001 Census and, alternatively, the Spanish Labor Force Survey, considering the stock of individuals in both legal and consensual unions. A sample of the main representative foreign national origins is considered. Multi-level models are applied separately for men and women to predict the odds of being in a union with a foreigner or a native taking into account relevant individual and partner characteristics. Such models characterize males and females involved in in- and out-marriages, distinguishing how preferences operate in the assortative mating by national origin and gender.

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Presented in Session 32: Mixed-ethnic unions in Europe and second generation union formation