Partner Choice and Timing of First Union among Immigrants and Their Descendants: Marriage versus Cohabitation

Kenneth Wiik , Statistics Norway
Jennifer Holland, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Partner choice and the timing of union formation are mechanisms for economic and cultural integration of immigrant-background individuals and reveal social distances between groups. Using Norwegian register data, we study partner choice and timing of all first marital and non-marital unions occurring between 2005 and 2016 (N=309,532, 92.3% cohabitation). We use cross-classified multilevel hazards models to investigate how (1) individual background, demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, (2) Norwegian partnership markets, and (3) norms about marriage in countries of (parental) origin shape union formation processes. Preliminary results show that cohabitation is the modal pathway into partnership, though it is most common among those choosing a majority partner. There is a generational shift toward later ages at marriage, but partner choice, pathway and timing go hand in hand with exogamy. Generational gradations of family process adaptation are conditioned by individual and partner characteristics, and origin and destination contextual factors.

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 Presented in Session 16. Ethnic and Migrant Partnership Formation