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In a new article published in International Migration Review, IMI’s Evelyn Ersanilli together with Sarah Carol and Mareike Wagner from the Social Science Research Centre Berlin look at the factors that influence whether children of Turkish and Moroccan migrants marry a partner from the parental origin country or a local co-ethnic.

In this article, Evelyn Ersanilli and her co-authors use data from the Six Country Immigrant Integration Comparative Survey (SCIICS), to compare the characteristics of people with a transnational spouse to those with a spouse from the co-ethnic community in the country of residence.

Results show that the descendants of Turkish migrants are more likely to enter into a marriage with a transnational spouse than the children of Moroccan migrants. For both groups, the second generation is less likely to marry transnationally than those who were born in Turkey and Morocco and migrated as minors (the ‘in-between generation’). People who are more religious are more likely to marry a transnational spouse. Men with tertiary education less often marry transnationally than men with less education. Interestingly, women with tertiary education are more likely to marry a transnational spouse. This might be because the local marriage market for highly educated women is too small, leading them to turn to the parental origin country in search of a spouse who is both highly educated and culturally similar.

The analysis also found some support for effects of policies aimed at restricting transnational marriages. Both in Sweden and the Netherlands, rates of transnational marriages dropped as policies tightened. However transnational marriage rates in Germany for both Turkish and Moroccan origin groups are even lower than the tight policies would predict, suggesting that other national level dynamics also influence transnational marriage rates.