Differential sociodemographic determinants of marital dissolution between endogamous and cross-border couples in Taiwan: evidence from a population-based birth cohort study

Jennifer Chun-Li Wu, National Taipei University of Education

Since the mid-1990, Taiwan has experienced a large influx of cross-border marriage migrants, mainly females of childbearing age from less developed countries in the region. The foremost driving force pertains to the challenges in the domestic marriage market faced by Taiwanese men who are older, of lower social class, and live in rural areas. Such marriage migration has created several societal concerns, with one being that cross-border unions are less stable and may imply potential negative consequences on their young children. This study aims to scrutinize whether there are differential sociodemographic determinants of marital dissolution between cross-border versus Taiwanese endogamous couples built upon both resources theory and heterogamy hypothesis. Data came from the Taiwan Birth Cohort Study with 20,539 children whose parents were married in the initial survey at 6 months of age and completed at least one of the follow-up surveys at 18 months, 3 years and 5.5 years of age. Parent’s marital status was the dependent variable with reporting a change to “divorce” in a given survey recoded as event occurrence. Age at marriage, marriage cohort, educational level and urbanization of residential area were taken as non-time-dependent predictors while heterogamy factors included age and education. I used Cox Proportional Hazards models to examine predictors on the hazard rate of marital dissolution by cross-border marriage group including Taiwanese endogamy (86.5%), Chinese cross-border (4.6%) and Southeast Asian (SEA) cross-border (8.9%). There existed differential sociodemographic determinants of divorce. While maternal education was protective for both Taiwanese endogamous and SEA cross-border groups, paternal education increased the risk of divorce for the latter. In addition, heterogamy hypothesis was only supported for Taiwanese couples in terms of age difference. The findings pave the ground for further investigation of family environment effects on the well-being of the next generation given Taiwan’s recent immigration trend.

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Presented in Poster Session 1