Heterogeneity versus Assimilation in Family Formation across Generations and Origin of Descendants of Immigrants in Sweden: Which Comes First, Homeownership, Marriage, or Childbirth?

Mary Abed al Ahad , University of St Andrews
Gunnar Andersson, Stockholm University
Hill Kulu, University of St Andrews

With more than one-quarter of Swedish residents having an immigration background, it becomes important to understand the family formation patterns of immigrants and their descendants. In this study, we examine the risk of entry to first-time homeownership, marriage, and childbirth by immigrant origin and generations in Sweden focusing on only immigrants arriving in Sweden before the age of 18 (1.5 generation (G)) and on descendants of immigrants with two (2G) or one (2.5G) non-Swedish-born parent(s). We use individual-level register data from Sweden over a period of 20 years (1997-2016). To assess the risk of entry to first-time homeownership, marriage, or childbirth, we use Cox-Proportional Hazards modelling whereby everyone is at risk of the three events starting the age of 18. An interaction term is included between the type of event experienced first and immigrant generations and origin. Results showed the importance of owning a house for everyone before moving to marriage or childbirth. After homeownership, native-Swedes, all 2.5G, and certain 1.5G and 2G groups (e.g., Nordic, Western and Southern Europe, and Latin America) showed higher risks of childbirth then marriage, whereas 1.5G and 2G groups from conservative family cultures (e.g., Turkish, Ex-Yugoslavia, Iran, Middle East/North Africa, and South Asia) showed a high marriage risk. Results also supported a gradual assimilation across the generations with 2.5G showing the most similar risks to native-Swedes. However, variation in patterns still existed among 1.5G and 2G groups supporting segmentation, which could be attributed to the socio-cultural and economic heterogeneities across the countries of origin.

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 Presented in Session 91. Marriage and Unions of Migrant Populations