Patterns of dating and the transition to cohabitation among the children of immigrants in Europe

Helga A. G. de Valk, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI) and Vrije Universiteit Brussel

In this paper I examine first of all the dating behavior of the children of immigrants. Key questions are with whom they date (inter- or intra- ethnic), at what age they start dating and how this dating patterns relate to the transition into a cohabiting union. The transition into cohabitation will distinguish between a cohabiting unmarried and married union. Furthermore we will make comparisons between these patterns across Europe. Data from the project The Integration of the European Second generation (TIES) carried out in 15 cities across Europe are used covering the Turkish and Moroccan children of immigrants and a majority comparison group aged between 18 and 35 at the time of the survey. Descriptive comparative analyses are complimented by event-history analyses. First findings indicate that a substantial share of the children of immigrants dates with a native partner in adolescence. However entry into a cohabiting union is most often made with a partner from the same origin (either first or second generation). Although the majority of these cohabitations are married unions also unmarried cohabitation seems to become more important for the children of immigrants than it was in the parental generation. At the same time unmarried cohabitation seemed to start at later ages than married unions. Further analyses will pay attention to the characteristics of both partners in the union to further disentangle main mechanisms behind these processes and the specific position of the descendants of immigrants across Europe.

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Presented in Session 1: Cohabitation on both sides of the Atlantic

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