Mate Selection of New Legal Immigrants: Race, Skin Color, and Education

Zhenchao Qian, Ohio State University
Guillermina Jasso, New York University

Previous research on union formation of immigrants focus on young immigrants growing up in the United States. Little is known about immigrants who came to the U.S. as spouses of U.S. citizens. These immigrants account for one third of adults admitted to legal permanent residence every year. Who are they married to? Do the mate selection patterns differ if their U.S. citizen spouses are native born or foreign born, male or female? In this paper, we use data from New Immigrant Survey to examine these questions, with an emphasis on the main and joint effects of race, skin color, and education on assortative mating patterns among U.S. citizen-immigrant couples. We hypothesize that naturalized U.S. citizen-immigrant couples are similar in race and skin color, but are dissimilar in educational attainment. U.S.-born citizen-immigrant couples, on the other hand, are expected to have similar levels of educational attainment, but different racial and skin color combinations.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 171: Assortative Mating