Co-ethnic marriage versus intermarriage among immigrants and their descendants: a comparison across seven European countries using event-history analysis

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

Demographic Research


Tina Hannemann, Hill Kulu, Leen Rahnu, Allan Puur, Mihaela Hărăguş, Ognjen Obućina, Amparo González-Ferrer, Karel Neels, Layla Van den Berg, Ariane Pailhé, Gina Potarca and Laura Bernardi

Publication date


Background: Immigrants and their descendants often marry a co-ethnic partner despite the abundance of native-born marriage candidates. The prevalence of co-ethnic marriages and intermarriage among migrants is influenced by their integration level and cultural background as much as individual preferences and structural factors.
Objective: This paper expands existing literature on intermarriage by analysing first marriages across European countries, distinguishing marriage type (endogamous versus exogamous) and migrant generations (immigrants versus their descendants).
Methods: Data from seven countries was aggregated using the count-data method and was subsequently pooled and analysed together; first, to estimate unadjusted first marriage rates; second, to calculate marriage risks separately by marriage type; and, finally, to directly compare the risk of exogamous and endogamous marriage.
Results: There are substantial differences in the prevalence of co-ethnic marriage and intermarriage across the migrant groups. Migrants from non-EU countries often show a high prevalence of co-ethnic marriages and a low risk of intermarriage, whereas migrants from neighbouring countries show a relatively high risk of intermarriage.
Conclusions: Ethnic background and early socialisation have strong impacts on the partner choice of migrants and their descendants. The results suggest a strong influence of minority subcultures for some migrant groups, but also intergenerational adaptation processes for others.
Contribution: This paper provides an up-to-date comparison of intermarriage rates across seven European countries and two migrant generations, presenting evidence of both similarities and differences across countries.

Volume and page numbers

39, 487-524





Demography, Migration, Family Formation And Dissolution, Ethnic Groups and Life Course Analysis


Open Access; © 2018 Tina Hannemann et al.; This open-access work is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Germany (CC BY 3.0 DE), which permits use, reproduction, and distribution in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are given credit. See