Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Mixed-marriages more unstable in France than in the U.S. and Canada

Recent research showedmarriages in France between different nationalities and ethnicities are more likely to end up in divorcethan those between same nationalities (co-nationals) and ethnicities (co-ethnic). This is in contrast to the situation in the United States and Canada.
Mixed-marriages more unstable in France than in the U.S. and Canada
Marriages between nationals of different countries and ethnicities (mixed marriages) are considered to be an indicator of integration. However, little research has been conducted on the marital stability of these couples, in contrast to those of co-nationals couples.

The EU-funded project 'Integration of international marriages: Empirical evidence from Europe and North America' (INTERMAR) sought to close this knowledge gap. Researchers compared divorce rates of mixed marriages to those of co-nationals and co-ethnic in Canada, France and the United States. They did so primarily through a survey distributed in the three countries, as well as through interviews with lawyers and divorcees of international unions.

Results showed that the divorce rates of international and interethnic couples in the United States and Canada are slightly lower than those of co-national and co-ethnic couples. However, the opposite was found in France, where international and interethnic marriages are more likely to result in divorce.

Project researchers found that religion and family and friends' perceptions of the marriage play a role in the success or failure of the marriage. Other key factors are age, marital history, employment, marital history of parents and child-bearing.

Interviews with divorced couples and divorce lawyers confirmed the marital challenges derived from cultural differences and societal pressure. However, they also revealed the role that employment and restrictive immigration laws had on the dissolution of a marriage.

Researchers argue that these differences in divorce rates may be explained by the challenges of migration, cultural differences as well as immigration and integration policies. Findings show more work must be done on the topic as mixed-marriage divorces impact the social, psychological and economic spheres of countries and their citizens.

Related information


Integration, intermarriage, divorce, migration
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