Partnership formation and dissolution among immigrants and their descendants in France

Ariane Pailhé, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

In contemporary Europe, the integration of immigrants and their children is a major policy issue. The family formation behaviour is an important component of the integration of immigrants and second generation immigrants into their host society. It reflects the extent of maintenance of social norms, family values and cultural identity vs. adaptation to the host society. France has a long tradition of immigration. Immigrants living in metropolitan France come from an extremely wide range of geographical zones. In some of these, marriage may be almost universal and age at first marriage may still be very young, while in others unions may be formed very much on the model that prevails in France today. To what extent does migratory context influence couple formation? To what extent do they reproduce their parents’ behavior, or that of the native population? For several decades, in France as in the rest of Europe, marriage has been losing ground to cohabitation, and the age at which first-time couples are formed has risen considerably, as a result of longer years spent in education and job scarcity. Moreover, family life courses have become increasingly diverse as the sequence of events and the pace at which they occur have become less standardized than before. Thus, we will study family changes among immigrants and their descendants over their life courses and not only one transition at a time. This paper examines partnership trajectories among immigrants and their descendants in France. We examine union formation and dissolution among immigrants and their descendants by comparing their patterns to those of the native population using the Trajectories and Origins survey, conducted in 2008 on a sample of 22,000 persons. The timing of first partnership, of first union dissolution and competing risk model for timing of first cohabitation/first direct marriage are estimated.

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Presented in Session 94: Policy settings and partnership dynamics among immigrants