Migrants’ Subjective Well-Being in Ethnically Mixed Marriages: A Life-Course Perspective

Sarah Carol , University College Dublin
Annegret Gawron, University of Cologne

Scholars increasingly investigate the subjective well-being of migrants. However, only few pay attention to the meaning of exogamous marriages (marriages between migrants and natives) although this marriage type is seen as valuable indicator of migrants’ integration. But despite their importance, for instance, for upward mobility, exogamously married couples often have to face more conflicts and lower marital satisfaction compared to endogamously married couples (marriages between members of the same ethnic group). Drawing on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (1984-2015), this paper tests whether exogamous marriages enhance migrants’ life and health satisfaction at different stages of the family life cycle. We adopt a refined typology of Duvall’s family cycle classification and test it by using mixed effects models for repeated measures. We distinguish between seven stages of the family life cycle ranging between mating, over childrearing, empty nest to aging. While there is on average a higher satisfaction in exogamous marriages, this varies across the life course. Exogamously married couples with younger or adult children reported higher levels of satisfaction, so do older exogamously married couples who retired and whose children have moved out. Moreover, only some migrant groups benefit from exogamous marriages. Overall, these findings illustrate that marriage types and the life cycle should be considered in future studies about the subjective well-being of migrants.

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 Presented in Session 87. Civil Status and Health