German Microdata Lab

Marriage Patterns of Ethnic Migrants and Ethnic Minorities in Germany

Using data from the microcensus, marriage patterns of various groups of immigrants from former immigrant countries are studied. The focus is on groups that represent the largest population groups of ethnic minorities in the Germany.

The “success” of social integration into the host country relies strongly on the existence of personal contacts between individuals of the host country and of the country of origin, i.e. the existence of interaction between members of the society beyond (ethnic) group boundaries. Inter-ethnic marriage is considered as a central indicator of social integration, given that marriage represents an intimate, exclusive, and long-lasting relationship that today generally results from a rewarding personal relationship between two people. So in this project on the one hand inter-ethnic or bi-national marriages are the focus of research. Differences in nationality groups regarding marital entry into the German population are to be highlighted along with explanatory approaches for the resulting marriage patterns.

Additionally, another special focus of the project is on marriages entered into by ethnic migrants outside of Germany. To date, these so-called transnational marriages have merited little scientific attention in Germany. Therefore, an initial descriptive study is made of how far this option is taken up by different nationality groups and, if applicable, how the ranking of this type of partner selection has changed across different generations. The study of transnational marriages is compelling in the context of focusing on integration and exclusion processes as – so the assumption – these have a negative impact on the integration process of a minorities group by restricting assimilation of the next generation. Fewer available assets exist for the target country in transnational marriages, and this complicates integration of the children – e.g. as regards their educational success.

Kalter, Frank und Julia H. Schroedter (2010): Transnational marriage among former labour migrants in Germany, Zeitschrift für Familienforschung 22 (1): 11-36.

Schroedter, Julia H., Kalter, Frank (2008): Binationale Ehen in Deutschland. Trends und Mechanismen der sozialen Assimilation. S. 350-379 in: Kalter, Frank (Hg.) Migration und Integration. Sonderheft 48 der KZfSS. Wiesbaden: VS-Verlag.

Schroedter, Julia H. (2006): Binationale Ehen in Deutschland. In: Wirtschaft und Statistik 4/2006: 419-431. [.pdf]