, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 1013–1038 | Cite as

Does Culture Affect Divorce? Evidence From European Immigrants in the United States



This article explores the role of culture in determining divorce by examining country-of-origin differences in divorce rates of immigrants in the United States. Because childhood-arriving immigrants are all exposed to a common set of U.S. laws and institutions, we interpret relationships between their divorce tendencies and home-country divorce rates as evidence of the effect of culture. Our results are robust to controlling for several home-country variables, including average church attendance and gross domestic product (GDP). Moreover, specifications with country-of-origin fixed effects suggest that immigrants from countries with low divorce rates are especially less likely to be divorced if they reside among a large number of coethnics. Supplemental analyses indicate that divorce culture has a stronger impact on the divorce decisions of females than of males, pointing to a potentially gendered nature of divorce taboos.


Divorce Culture Immigrants 



This article has benefited from comments provided by Manuel Arellano, Martin Browning, Libertad Gonzalez, Berkay Ozcan, and Stephen L. Ross as well as participants at the Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America, the Migration: Economic Change, Social Change Conference, the SOLE-EALE International Conference, the Congress of the Spanish Economics Association, the European Society of Population Economics Conference, the economics seminar at CEMFI, and the British Society for Population Studies Conference. Any remaining errors are our own.

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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Delia Furtado
    • 1
  • Miriam Marcén
    • 2
  • Almudena Sevilla
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  2. 2.Departamento de Análisis Económico, Facultad de Economía y EmpresaUniversidad de ZaragozaZaragozaSpain
  3. 3.School of Business and ManagementQueen Mary, University of LondonLondonUK

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