Partner choices in long established migrant communities in Belgium

Emilien Dupont, Ghent University
Amelie Van Pottelberge, Ghent University
Bart Van de Putte, Ghent University
John Lievens, Ghent University
Frank Caestecker, Ghent University

Recent research on Turkish migrants reveals a diminishing dominance of partner migration related to changing attitudes. This paper argues that partner choices are also contingent on the migration history, characteristics of the migrant group, and structural opportunities that are present. We therefore examine differences in the partner choices (partner migration, local co-ethnic, mixed) of Moroccan, Turkish, Congolese, and Algerian migrants. Our data comprise an extraction of the Belgian national register (2001-2008) and focus on first marriages among first, 1.5, and second generation migrants of Moroccan, Turkish, Algerian, and Congolese origin (N=52,142). We apply a multinomial logistic multilevel design to simultaneously incorporate individual and contextual effects at the district level. We conclude the migration history and the resulting networks between communities in Belgium and the country of origin influence the likelihood of choosing partner migration. Furthermore, skin colour, language proficiency and religion impact the prevalence of mixed marriages. These features establish boundaries between migrant groups and the native population, which is translated in the frequency of mixed marriages. Furthermore, the bonding capacity of the French language was present only for the Moroccan group. We also noticed that boundaries between migrant groups and the native population are fairly robust after incorporating individual characteristics (age, generation, and sex) and structural influences (district size, diversity level, sex ratio, and community size).

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Presented in Poster Session 1