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Cultural Dissimilarity and Intermarriage. A Longitudinal Study of Immigrants in Sweden 1990–2005


  • This work is part of the project Partner Choice and Career, financed by the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research. Previous versions of this article were presented at the Swedish Economic History Meeting in Uppsala, Sweden, at the seminar of the Centre for Labour Market Policy Research (CAFU), Växjö University, Sweden, at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America, Detroit, MI, and at the Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MiM), Sweden. We are grateful to participants for comments and suggestions.


Intermarriage with natives is a key indicator of immigrant integration. This article studies intermarriage for 138 immigrant groups in Sweden, using longitudinal individual level data. It shows great variation in marriage patterns across immigrant populations, ranging from over 70 percent endogamy in some immigrants groups to below 5 percent in other groups. Although part of this variation is explained by human capital and the structure of the marriage market, cultural factors (values, religion, and language) play an important role as well. Immigrants from culturally more dissimilar countries are less likely to intermarry with natives, and instead more prone to endogamy.