Ethnic minority-majority unions in Estonia

Maarten van Ham, Tiit Tammaru

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    33 Citations (Scopus)


    Ethnic minority-majority unions-also referred to as mixed ethnic unions-are often seen as the ultimate evidence of the integration of ethnic minorities into their host societies. We investigated minority-majority unions in Estonia, where ethnic minorities account for one-third of the total population (Russians 26%, followed by Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Finns and other smaller groups). Using data from the 2000 Estonian census and regression models, we found that Slavic women are less likely to be in minority-majority unions than are members of other minority groups, with Russians being the least likely. Finns, who are culturally most similar to the Estonian majority population, are the most likely to form a union with an Estonian. For ethnic minority women, the likelihood of being in minority-majority unions is highest in rural areas and increases over generations, with third-generation immigrants being the most likely. Estonian women are most likely to have a minority partner when they or their parents were born abroad and when they live in urban areas. Our findings suggest that both the opportunity to meet potential partners and openness to other ethnic groups are important factors for understanding the dynamics of minority-majority unions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)313-335
    Number of pages23
    JournalEuropean Journal of Population
    Issue number3
    Early online date28 May 2011
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


    • Ethnicity
    • Country of birth
    • Generation
    • Minority–majority unions
    • Mixed ethnic unions
    • Estonia
    • Ethnie
    • Pays de naissance
    • Génération
    • Unions minorité-majorité
    • Unions mixtes
    • Données de recensement
    • Estonie


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