The Interplay of Spatial Diffusion and Marital Assimilation of Mexicans in the United States, 1980-2011

Christoph Spörlein, University of Bamberg
Ricardo D. Martínez-Schuldt, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Ted Mouw, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Combining Decennial Census (1980-2000) and American Community Survey (2008-2011) data, this study documents Mexican and non-Hispanic white intermarriage patterns across 543 Consistent Public Use Microdata Areas and evaluates how changes in structural conditions impact marital behavior of native and foreign-born Mexicans in the United States. We provide an alternative approach to modeling intermarriage patterns to address a common theme expressed in literature: that marital preferences may change as a result of ethnic replenishment. Descriptive findings suggest 2nd+ generation Mexicans are on a path towards marital assimilation while 1st generation intermarriage rates have declined. Moreover, we find strong variation in intermarriage across settlement areas with intermarriage rates generally being higher in new settlement areas. Results from societal growth curve models reveal no change in the impact of group size on the odds of exogamous compared to endogamous marriage. Thus, our preliminary findings do not support the notion of shifting marital preferences.

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Presented in Session 184: Spatial Patterns and Assimilation