Trends, patterns, and determinants of interreligious partnerships in Austria (1971-2001)

Raya Muttarak, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)
Maria Rita Testa, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)

The changes in religious composition in Austria since 1970 have important consequences on intergroup relationships and family formation. Using the pooled data from the 1971, 1981, 1991 and 2001 Population Censuses (n=692,101), this paper investigates trends and determinants of interreligious unions in Austria. In this study, an interreligious union (or partnership) refers to a partnership (both marriage and co-habitation) between a man and a woman of different religious affiliations. The major questions are to investigate: 1) how individual characteristics in particular educational attainment and religious affiliation shape interreligious partnership patterns; and 2) how changing religious composition in region of residence influences interreligious partnership formation. Overall, we find that over the period 1971-2001 religious intermarriage has been increasing in Austria, especially among Roman Catholics and Protestants women. As a majority population in Austria, Catholic is the most common group being partnered with when any given religious group marries out. Individuals in younger birth cohorts, with higher educational attainment, living in a residential area with high composition of out-group religious members have higher propensity to be in an interreligious union in each Census round. The increasing in religious diversity in Austria might partially explain the increase in interreligious partnerships over time.

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Presented in Session 26: Assortative mating and religiousness