Union Dissolution and Divorce among Ethnic Minorities in Britain

Julia Mikolai , University of St Andrews
Hill Kulu, University of St Andrews

An increasing body of literature studies native-immigrant intermarriage across Europe as an indicator of immigrant integration. However, less is known about the stability of mixed marriages. We study divorce among mixed marriages in Britain. We extend previous research by examining the effect of exogamous unions on union stability in the UK and using a rich longitudinal dataset. We test three competing hypotheses regarding divorce among mixed marriages: the dissimilarity/exogamy hypotheses, selection hypothesis, and convergence hypothesis. The likelihood of divorce varies by ethnic group; it is highest among the Caribbean and lowest among the South-East Asian group. Ethnic endogamous marriages are the least likely to end in divorce whereas native endogamous, native exogamous, and ethnic exogamous marriages are equally likely to dissolve. This remains the same after we control for education. We speculate why our findings do not support any of the three hypotheses and set out our further plans.

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 Presented in Session 74. Interethnic Union Formation and Dissolution