Intermarriage and ethnicity among European Americans
- 35 Downloads
Increasing intermarriage between Jews and Gentiles is taking place at a time when marriage across lines defined by European ancestry has risen sharply. This paper examines the prevalence and social significance of intermarriage in the white population. Census data are used to establish the extent of intermarriage, and survey data to explore its potential significance. In particular, the paper considers the relationship of marriage to the ethnic identities of the partners and to the desire that children identify in ethnic terms. The findings are argued to reveal significant aspects of the contemporary state of European ethnicity in the U.S.
The growth of intermarriage between Jews and Gentiles in America is taking place at a time when marriage across lines defined by European ethnic ancestry has risen sharply. Considerable research effort has been expended on the determinants and consequences of Jewish-Gentile intermarriage, while other kinds of intermarriage have received less attention. Yet if intermarriage among Jews is part of a more general phenomenon, it is doubtful if its implications can be fully comprehended without taking into account the significance of intermarriage in the larger population. In this paper, I seek to address some of the issues concerning intermarriage among Americans of European ancestry, using U.S. census and other national data to establish the prevalence of intermarriage, and survey data collected in the region around Albany, New York to investigate its significance for its participants.
KeywordsEthnic Identity Ethnic Background European Ancestry Contemporary JEWRY Marriage Pattern
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- - (1985) “Interracial and interethnic marriage in the 1980 census.” Paper presented at the 1985 meetings of the American Sociological Association.Google Scholar
- — (1988) “Cohorts and the dynamics of ethnic change.” In Matilda White Riley, Bettina J. Huber, and Beth B. Hess (eds.),Social Structures and Human Lives. Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
- — (1990)Ethnic Identity: The Transformation of White America. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
- ALBA, R. and GOLDEN, R. (1986) “Pattern of ethnic marriage in the United States”Ethnic and Racial Studies, 2 (January): 1–20.Google Scholar
- GANS, H. (1979) “Symbolic ethnicity: The future of ethnic groups and cultures in America”Ethnic and Racial Studies, 2 (January): 1–20.Google Scholar
- GLAZER, N. (1975)Affirmative Discrimination: Ethnic Inequality and Public Policy. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- GORDON, M. (1964)Assimilation in American Life: The Role of Race, Religion, and National Origins. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- LIEBERSON, S. and WATERS, M. (1985) “Ethnic mixtures in the United States”Sociology and Social Research, 70 (October): 43–51.Google Scholar
- — (1988)From Many Strands: Ethnic and Racial Groups in Contemporary America. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
- MERTON, R.  (1976) “Intermarriage and the social structure.” In Robert K. Merton,Sociological ambivalence and other Essays. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
- PORTES, A. and BACH, R. (1985)Latin Journey: Cuban and Mexican Immigrants in the United States. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar