Intermarriage between Immigrants and Natives in the United States

25 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2018

See all articles by Hisham S. Foad

Hisham S. Foad

San Diego State University - Department of Economics

Date Written: November 6, 2018


What factors influence the decision by immigrants to marry within or outside of their ethnic group? I attempt to answer this question by using data from the 2008-2016 American Community Survey. This datasource allows for improved estimation of the determinants of endogamy as it includes information on the year in which an immigrant married. I am thus able to restrict my sample to individuals who migrated to the US as adults, but did not get married until after they arrived. This is a significant improvement over the existing literature, which primarily looks at migrants who arrived in the US before they were of marriage age. Given childhood formation of preferences, the determinants of intermarriage are likely to differ between these two groups. I find strong evidence of assortative matching in education for immigrants. Educated immigrants are more likely to intermarry when they come from relatively less educated communities, while intermarriage rates fall for education migrants coming from relatively better educated communities. In addition, culture appears to play a large role, with East and South Asian migrants being the least likely groups to intermarry, even after controlling for observable characteristics like education and exposure to natives.

Keywords: intermarriage, immigration, assortative matching

JEL Classification: D1, F22, J12, J15

Suggested Citation

Foad, Hisham S., Intermarriage between Immigrants and Natives in the United States (November 6, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Hisham S. Foad (Contact Author)

San Diego State University - Department of Economics ( email )

5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182
United States

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