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Demographic Outcomes of Ethnic Intermarriage in American History: Italian-Americans through Four Generations

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  • Joel Perlmann

    (Jerome Levy Econ Inst & Bard College)

Abstract

This paper presents a new approach to measuring the extent of intermarriage among Americans of different ethnic origins. Using U.S. Census microdata and CPS data, measurements of the rates of Italian- American intermarriages across four generations are made to demonstrate that these rates were not merely high following the immigrant generation, but that even low estimates of intermarriage rates will produce high proportions of descendants of mixed origin. Extended asides show (1) how high proportions of Italian-immigrant men could in-marry despite the severe gender imbalance in the immigrant population, and (2) the importance of studying the proportion of immigrant arrivals who came to this country as children and the ambiguous generational status not just of these individuals (the '1.5 generation') but of their children ('2.5'?). Finally, the paper concludes by emphasizing the significance of the results for assimilation among past and future immigrants, the concept of generations, and current-day projections about the future racial composition of the United States.

Suggested Citation

  • Joel Perlmann, 2000. "Demographic Outcomes of Ethnic Intermarriage in American History: Italian-Americans through Four Generations," Macroeconomics 0004059, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:0004059 Note: Type of Document - Adobe Acrobat PDF; prepared on IBM PC; to print on PostScript; pages: 50; figures: included
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