Intermarriage and Assimilation Among Arabs in the United States: Estimates, Causes, and Trends, 1990-2010

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 14:27
Location: Elise Richter Saal (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Andrzej KULCZYCKI, University of Alabama, USA
Peter LOBO, New York City Department of City Planning, USA
Intermarriage is a key indicator of an immigrant group’s assimilation into its host society. Intermarriage has multiple socioeconomic and sociocultural dimensions, and carries significant implications for the integration of immigrants and their descendants. We use data from the 2009-2013 American Community Survey, which gives a sufficiently large sample to analyze intermarriage among Arab Americans. We provide limited comparisons with our earlier findings based on 1990 census data, which allows us to review trends over two decades during which the impact of the events of 9/11 for this population would have been felt. We first examine recent intermarriage levels and patterns for Arab Americans, and how in- and out-marriage rates for Arab men and women differ by socio-economic characteristics and major ancestry group. Next, we employ logistic regression to analyze the determinants of acculturation (including place of birth, partial Arab ancestry, and English language proficiency), structural assimilation (education, income and occupational skill level) and cultural assimilation (ethnicity/major ancestry group) on the likelihood of out-marriage. Differences among major Arab national-origin groups are also assessed. The relatively strong socioeconomic position of U.S.- and foreign-born Arabs would lead us to hypothesize that, in accordance with the basic assimilation hypothesis, Arab Americans are likely to out-marry at high rates. While we found this to be true based on 1990 census data, this may no longer hold due to the doubling in size of this population and its disparagement since 9/11. Provisional findings show that Arab Americans continue to have high intermarriage rates, with men and the native-born more likely to out-marry. The overall high levels of exogamy suggest Arab Americans are assimilating quickly. The predictors are largely similar for both sexes, but there are also some significant ethnic effects. Lastly, we look at the ethnic identification of children of out-married couples.