Mixed marriages in Switzerland: A test of the segmented assimilation hypothesis

TitleMixed marriages in Switzerland: A test of the segmented assimilation hypothesis
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsPotarca, G, Bernardi, L
JournalDemographic Research

Background: Switzerland hosts one of the largest and most diversified migrant populations in Europe, while currently reinforcing restrictive immigration policies. Knowledge on Swiss immigrant-native marriages, as ultimate signposts of integration, is limited. Objective: We explore the role of origin group and birth cohort in the emergence and dissolution of mixed marriages in Switzerland among both natives and immigrants. Methods: Based on a sample of 12,827 respondents from the 2013 Swiss Family and Generations
Survey, we fit competing-risks models for entry into first marriage, and Cox proportional hazards models for entry into (first) divorce. Results: We find evidence of a segmented marriage market, with migrants from neighbouring Western European countries having higher chances of getting and staying married to a
Swiss native. As opposed to natives, migrants from younger cohorts are progressively less likely to intermarry.
Conclusions: In line with segmented assimilation claims, results suggest differences in integration pathways between immigrant groups. Findings also point to the reactive ethnicity of marginalized groups (e.g., Turks and ex-Yugoslavs) in response to an increasingly hostile immigration climate. Decreasing (inter)marriage with natives among young immigrants reflects shifting marriage market conditions over the last decades.

Short TitleMixed marriages in Switzerland