Markus Weißmann, Amrei Maddox
Early Ethnic Partner Choice among Natives and Descendants of Immigrants in Germany. The Role of Personal Preferences and Parental Influence

Mannheimer Zentrum für Europäische Sozialforschung: Arbeitspapiere; 164
48 p.
ISSN: 1437-8574

This research project investigates the determinants of ethnic homogamy among adolescents and young adults with an immigrant background in Germany. First, we analyze in how far ethnic homogamy preferences are defined by conservative and traditional orientations as well as ethnicity. Second, we are interested in the role of these personal preferences and parents’ indirect and active involvement for the partner choice process. Parents can indirectly influence the ethnic partner choice through the intergenerational transmission of homogamy preferences and can actively get involved through different measures, such as social pressure, and the strength of this direct involvement might differ between groups from more collectivistic or individualistic societies. We use the recently collected fourth wave of the German sample of the “The Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Survey in Four European Countries” (CILS4EU) as well as the previous waves to give a descriptive overview of these interrelations and investigate them by means of multivariate regression models. We find, first, that conservative as well as traditional orientation, ethnic identification, and the importance to maintain the cultural heritage shape personal homogamy preferences. Second, these preferences have a strong significant effect on ethnic partner choice. Third, the same is the case for parental preferences, which mostly seem to be mediated through adolescents’ preferences but also show an independent effect. Fourth, we find no proof of differences in active parental involvement when comparing more collectivistic and individualistic immigrant groups. Our results thus give an insight in how determinants discussed in the literature are related to actual homogamy preferences and how parental preferences shape both adolescents’ preferences and their dating behavior.