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Keywords:

  • intermarriage;
  • binational marriages;
  • European Union;
  • European integration;
  • Spain

ABSTRACT

This article examines recent trends and patterns in binational marriages between European citizens in Spain over a 20-year period and the sociodemographic profile and nationality composition of these binational marriages. The analysis relies on aggregate marriage statistics and on marriage register microdata for 2008–2009. We use odds ratios to monitor trends and characteristics of binational marriages and multinomial regression to further examine the sociodemographic profile of these couples. The analysis of marriage records reveals only a modest rise in Euromarriages over the 1990–2009 period. This moderate increase in Euromarriages points towards a weak social impact of the European single market. Moreover, the analysis also suggests that binational marriages more often involve lesser-educated than more-educated individuals. Finally, findings on the social and nationality compositions of binational marriages conform to theoretical predictions drawn from the literatures of marriage markets, endogamy, and social hypergamy. They show that the affinity between Spaniards and European Union (EU-15) citizens is lesser than that between Spaniards and non-Europeans (i.e. Latin Americans). They also show that patterns of binational marriages are highly gender specific. Whereas the affinity between Spanish women and EU-15 men is higher than the affinity between Spanish women and ‘new’ European men, the affinity between Spanish men and ‘new’ European women is higher than the affinity between Spanish men and EU-15 women. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.