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Assimilation and Intermarriage for U.S. Immigrant Groups, 1880-1990

Publication Abstract

Wildsmith, E., Myron Gutmann, and B. Gratton. 2003. "Assimilation and Intermarriage for U.S. Immigrant Groups, 1880-1990." History of the Family: An International Quarterly, 8: 563-584.

Marriage outside one's ethnic or racial group constitutes the ultimate test of assimilation. In this research, we offer a new test of theories of assimilation by examining the choice of marriage partners among Mexican Americans, several European immigrant groups, and natives. Data from the 1880 to 1990 Integrated Public Use Microdata Samples (IPUMS) are employed, augmented by additional identification procedures developed for the Hispanic population. Assimilation measured by intermarriage rates varies by ethnic origin with striking affinity in historical patterns for Italians and Mexicans. Density and location of ethnic settlement, sex ratios, and generational mix played a role. Continued immigration marks certain groups, such as Mexicans, as structurally distinct.

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