Immigrant Incorporation in American Cities: The Case of German and Irish Intermarriage in 1880

John R. Logan, Brown University
Hyoung-jin Shin, Brown University

Intermarriage reflects group boundaries because it affects the links between the social networks of the groups that each partner belongs to. For this reason marriage choice has often been used as an indicator of social relations among different ethnic groups in the United States. This study uses full-count Census data to study intermarriage in major cities in 1880, at the height of the great wave of German and Irish immigration that was already in high gear in mid-century. It considers gender, national origin, generation in the U.S. and socioeconomic status as important individual factors. In addition, it examines contextual variables such as the size and composition of groups in the cities where they lived, the sex ratio of group members, occupational standing of group members relative to native whites, the predominance of first- or second-generation group members in the city, and measures of residential and industrial segregation between groups.

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Presented in Session 18: Historical Perspectives on Family and Household Change