Several recent studies have investigated the consequences of racial intermarriage for marital stability. None of these studies properly control for first-order racial differences in divorce risk, therefore failing to appropriately identify the effect of intermarriage. Our article builds on an earlier generation of studies to develop a model that appropriately identifies the consequences of crossing racial boundaries in matrimony.
We analyze the 1995 and 2002 National Survey of Family Growth using a parametric event-history model called a sickle model. To appropriately identify the effect of interracial marriage we use the interaction of wife's race and husband's race.
We find elevated divorce rates for Latino/white intermarriages but not for black/white intermarriages. Seventy-two percent of endogamous Latino marriages remain intact at 15 years, but only 58 percent of Latino husband/white wife and 64 percent of white husband/Latina wife marriages are still intact.
We have identified an important deficiency in previous studies and provide a straightforward resolution. Although higher rates of Latino/white intermarriage may indicate more porous group boundaries, the greater instability of these marriages suggests that these boundaries remain resilient.