Explaining trends and patterns of immigrants' partner choice in Britain

Raya Muttarak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Based on the 1988-2006 General Household Survey (N=121,934), this paper investigates trends and patterns of partnership formation of immigrants in Britain and explains underlying factors influencing partner choice. The key questions are:1) whom do the immigrants of different gender, generation and ethnic groups form partnerships with: (a White British partner, a British-born coethnic partner or a coethnic partner from overseas); and 2) what factors are explaining such a choice. Immigrants socialised in Britain, the second generation and those who migrated to Britain at a young age, are more likely to have a White British partner and less likely to be in a transnational partnership. Age at union, marital status, educational qualification, area ethnic composition, sex ratio and educational homogomy are significant predictors of one's partner choice. Yet, ethnic origin remains a crucial determinant of patterns of partnership formation. The statistical analysis suggests that the rates of interethnic union with a White British partner will continue to increase for Black Caribbean, Black Africans and also gradually for highly educated Indians. The proportion of Pakistanis and Bangladeshis having a White British partner will remain low and simultaneously transnational marriage with a coethnic partner from overseas will still be commonly practiced. Overall, interethnic partnerships between the White British population and the population with an immigrant background are increasing in Britain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-64
Number of pages28
JournalZeitschrift fur Familienforschung
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Britain
  • Ethnic minority
  • Integration
  • Intermarriage
  • Transnational marriage

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