Cross-border marriages in the United States : prevalence, predictors and implications




Weiss, Inbar

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In this dissertation, I explore how family formation is adjusted and shaped in an era of globalization and international migration, in which connections with people and organizations abroad are standard. Investigating cross-border marriages in the United States, I explore the social forces that support the global exchange that is at the core of these unions. The dissertation examines different aspects of cross-border marriages: prevalence and trends, variation by immigrant communities, mate selection in a global marriage market, and the power dynamics between couples. My dissertation is mainly based on data from the American Community Survey (ACS) incorporated with other data sources. My results indicate that cross-border marriages are common in the United States, especially among immigrant men, and resemble the marital patterns of cross-border marriages that were observed abroad. Significant variations in cross-border marriages exist across immigrant communities that are primarily explained by cultural preferences in the marriage market, specifically men’s preference for traditional gender norms. Moreover, marriage immigrant women are less likely to be employed and have lower incomes than other immigrant women in the United States. This suggests a high economic dependency in cross-border marriages that contributes to the marginalization of immigrant women. The findings of this dissertation suggest that scholars should adopt a more global approach when studying families in cosmopolitan or transnational societies.



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