Volume 35 - Article 1 | Pages 1–30  

Partnership formation and dissolution among immigrants in the Spanish context

By Amparo González-Ferrer, Tina Hannemann, Teresa Castro Martín

This article is part of the Special Collection 18 "Partnership dynamics among immigrants and their descendants in Europe"


Background: The diversification of partnership patterns away from the traditional marriage standard emerged in Spain relatively late. This makes Spain an interesting case for the study of the partnership dynamics of natives and immigrant groups.

Objective: This paper analyzes partnership formation and dissolution among immigrant women of various origins, in comparison to natives in Spain. The study aims to identify variations in timing and incidence of partnership transitions.

Methods: Data from the Fertility and Values Survey 2006 is used to conduct discrete-time logistic regressions for several union transitions. In a further step, the data are analyzed including cohort interactions to explore the extent to which differences are due to the younger profile of the migrant population.

Results: The obtained results lend support to the selection and disruption hypotheses in the case of immigrant women who arrived in Spain before their first union formation. However, when explaining the high propensity of Latin American and EU-15 women to enter cohabiting unions, socialization effects cannot be ruled out. Immigrant women also show higher risk of union dissolution than natives.

Conclusions: Immigrant women differ consistently from native Spanish women across the various partnership transitions. They generally display higher risks of forming a union, particularly a cohabiting union, and of separating from their first partner. Models including interactions between birth cohort and migrant status showed that differentials between immigrants and natives are not due to compositional effects.

Author's Affiliation

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