Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 118–128 | Cite as

Female Migration and Native Marital Stability: Insights from Italy

  • Daniele VignoliEmail author
  • Elena Pirani
  • Alessandra Venturini
Original Paper


Previous research has noted that divorce rates tend to be higher when there is a surplus of marriageable women in the marriage market. This paper argues that the size and the composition of the female migrant population can affect the marital stability of natives. We tested such hypothesis taking Italy as a case-study because it exemplifies a male-breadwinner society and because it is a relatively new immigration country. We estimated discrete-time event history models predicting marital disruption on data from the nationally representative 2009 Family and Social Subjects survey. Our results illustrated that the increasing presence of first mover migrant women (coming from Central-South America and Eastern Europe) was associated with higher separation risks among natives, especially for couples with lower human capital. By advancing the relevance of foreigners as a potential driver of natives’ family life courses, our findings add to our understanding of partnership dynamics in recent immigration countries.


Migration Divorce Marriage market Italy 



We would like to thank Daniela Del Boca, Anna Di Bartolomeo, Philippe Fargues, Anna Paterno, and Chiara Pronzato for their comments on an earlier version of the paper. The comments made by the editor and the reviewers of this journal also helped improving the paper. The paper also benefited by discussions during the session “International Migration” of the Italian Population Days 2015 (Palermo, Italy) and the session “Family Instability” of the Population Association of America Annual Meeting 2015 (San Diego, USA). We acknowledge the Migration Policy Center of the European University Institute for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniele Vignoli
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elena Pirani
    • 1
  • Alessandra Venturini
    • 2
  1. 1.University of FlorenceFlorenceItaly
  2. 2.University of TurinTurinItaly

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