Ethnic Homogamy as a De-Stabilizing Factor? Union Dissolution among the Caribbean Second Generation in the Netherlands

Gusta Wachter , Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)/KNAW/University of Groningen
Niels Kooiman, Statistics Netherlands
Helga A. G. de Valk, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI) / KNAW/ University of Groningen

Overall it is found that ethnically homogenous marriages are less likely to end in divorce. So far most of these studies focus on migrant groups who hold more traditional norms regarding union formation and dissolution than Western majority populations, such as the children of Turkish and Moroccan immigrants. However, the Caribbean second generation in the Netherlands is a group for whom it can be argued that norms regarding union formation and dissolution are actually less traditional than among the majority population: unmarried cohabitation is highly common and has a long tradition also in the origin countries where direct marriage is rare. Our main research question is therefore: how and to what extent is ethnic homogamy important for the stability of unmarried cohabiting unions among the Caribbean second generation? Our event history analyses are based on full population register data from Statistics Netherlands. These longitudinal data include all second-generation individuals with a Surinamese or Antillean origin born in the Netherlands between 1980 and 1995. We have access to unique data on all unmarried cohabitating relationships from 1995 until 2017 including background characteristics from our research population and their partners. Opposite to what is typically found, but in line with our expectations, our preliminary descriptive results indicate that unmarried cohabitating couples of the Caribbean second generation are most stable when the partner is of Dutch majority origin. While the risk of separation is highest when the partner is a first generation co-ethnic immigrant, unions between two second-generation partners take an intermediate position.

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 Presented in Session 74. Interethnic Union Formation and Dissolution