Partner Choice in Sweden Following a Failed Intermarriage

Abstract

This paper is based on the assumption that divorced and separated individuals bring with them the experience of a failed union which may shape their future choices on the marriage market. It aims to contribute to our knowledge of intermarriage, and social interaction in Sweden in general, by comparing the repartnering choices of immigrants and natives in Sweden who had made what is still considered an atypical choice of entering a native-immigrant union with the partner choices of natives and immigrants whose previous union was endogamous. The empirical analysis in this paper is based on the Swedish register data from the STAR data collection (Sweden over Time: Activities and Relations) and covers the period 1990–2007. All the analyses in the paper include individuals aged 20–55 at the time of union dissolution. The multivariate analysis is based on discrete-time multinomial logistic regression. The results show that for all four groups defined by sex and nativity (native men, native women, immigrant men, and immigrant women), there is a positive association between the previous experience of intermarriage and the likelihood of initiating another intermarriage after union dissolution. Another important finding is that the magnitude of this positive association increases with the degree of social distance between the groups involved in the union. Gender differences are modest among natives and somewhat more pronounced among immigrants.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The repartnering patterns of second-generation immigrants (i.e., Swedish-born individuals with at least one foreign-born parent) are not dealt with in this paper. Second-generation immigrants, however, do constitute a separate group in the partner classification.

  2. 2.

    Throughout this paper, the term “type of union” is used to refer to the type of union with respect to the partner’s origin.

  3. 3.

    The basic idea is to define co-ethnics as two individuals belonging to the same immigrant group, by which country of birth would be the main criterion for defining these groups. However, due to the classification of country of origin in the registers used for this research, it is only possible to identify country of birth for the most significant sending countries, while other immigrants are considered co-ethnics if they belong to the same panethnicity (i.e., if they were born in the same region of the world). Nevertheless, it is safe to assume that in a majority of endogamous unions defined by panethnicity the partners were actually born in the same country [see descriptive evidence based on 138 individual countries of birth in Dribe and Lundh (2011)]. The classification of immigrant groups is shown in Table 3 in Appendix. It should also be noted that a foreign-born individual and a second-generation immigrant are not considered co-ethnics in this paper, regardless of the parental country of birth of the second-generation immigrant.

  4. 4.

    For instance, in the models for natives, interaction Western immigrants stands for previous partner Western immigrant*share of Western immigrants in the municipality.

  5. 5.

    The inclusion of time-varying marriage market indicators entails a certain degree of threat of reverse causality. For instance, a native person who wants to repartner with a foreign-born person residing in a neighborhood with a high immigrant presence may move to a future partner’s municipality before the year of formation of the new union. Therefore, additional analyses were performed in which marriage market indicators are time-invariant and refer to the year of union dissolution and the municipality where the individual at risk of repartnering lived that year. However, the alternative approach does not change the overall findings.

  6. 6.

    This variable refers to union dissolutions experienced in Sweden. The registers have no information about immigrants’ pre-migration partnership history.

  7. 7.

    Models with dummies for each immigrant group failed to converge due to a very small number of cases for some of these groups.

  8. 8.

    The number of actual events by the type of previous and subsequent union is shown in Tables S1 and S2 in the Online Supplement.

  9. 9.

    Note that the panels are scaled differently for better visibility.

  10. 10.

    For the sake of space, the results on other characteristics of previous union, local marriage markets and, in the case of immigrants, geographical origin are not reported in Tables A2–A3 and are thus not discussed in this section. However, these results can be obtained upon request.

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Acknowledgments

Financial support from the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) via the Swedish Initiative for Research on Microdata in the Social and Medical Sciences (SIMSAM): Stockholm University SIMSAM Node for Demographic Research (Grant Registration Number 340-2013-5164), and the Linnaeus Center on Social Policy and Family Dynamics in Europe (SPaDE) (Grant 349-2007-8701) is gratefully acknowledged. I would also like to thank Juho Härkönen, Gunnar Andersson as well as reviewers and editors of the European Journal of Population for valuable comments and suggestions.

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Correspondence to Ognjen Obućina.

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Appendix

Appendix

See Tables 3, 4, and 5.

Table 3 Classification of immigrant groups
Table 4 Discrete-time multinomial logit model of repartnering, natives (base outcome: without a partner or cohabiting with no common children)
Table 5 Discrete-time multinomial logit model of repartnering, immigrants (base outcome: without a partner or cohabiting with no common children)

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Obućina, O. Partner Choice in Sweden Following a Failed Intermarriage. Eur J Population 32, 511–542 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10680-016-9377-1

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Keywords

  • Intermarriage
  • Immigrants in Sweden
  • Repartnering
  • Remarriage