Are mixed-ethnic unions more likely to dissolve than co-ethnic unions? New evidence from Britain

Zhiqiang Feng, Paul Boyle, Maarten van Ham, Gillian M. Raab

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    27 Citations (Scopus)
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    The increasing proportion of ethnic minorities in Britain has been paralleled by an increase in the occurrence of mixed-ethnic marriages between one White partner and an ethnic minority partner. Such marriages are thought to be at higher risk of divorce, but empirical studies so far have been inconclusive. This paper uses the Office for National Statistics longitudinal study for England and Wales to investigate whether mixed-ethnic unions are more likely to end in divorce than co-ethnic unions. We followed married couples in 1991-2001 and examined their risks of divorce. We found evidence that mixed-ethnic unions have a higher risk of dissolution than co-ethnic unions. However, after controlling for partners' characteristics, most importantly the younger ages of people in mixed-ethnic unions, the risk of divorce for mixed-ethnic unions was no longer elevated, but lay close to the higher risk found for the two constituent co-ethnic unions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)159-176
    Number of pages18
    JournalEuropean Journal of Population
    Issue number2
    Early online date25 Apr 2012
    Publication statusPublished - May 2012


    • Mixed-ethnic unions
    • Longitudinal study
    • Divorce
    • Convergence theory
    • Heterogamy effect
    • Unions mixtes
    • Étude longitudinale
    • Théorie de la convergence
    • Effet de l’hétérogamie


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