Graduate Center Study Finds Domestic-Born Latinas in NYC Increasingly Marry Non-Latino Spouses

Media contact:  Tanya Domi, 212-817-7283, tdomi@gc.cuny.edu

Graduate Center Study Finds Domestic-Born Latinas in NYC Increasingly Marry Non-Latino Spouses


23 percent of domestic-born Latinas in NYC married a non-Hispanic White in 2010; Puerto Ricans had highest rate of marriage to non-Latino spouses in 2010


NEW YORK, June 5, 2015 -- The Graduate Center, City University of New York, Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies announced today a new study –Marriage Patterns among Latinos in New York City, 1990 - 2010 that finds that American born Latinas are increasingly marrying non-Latino spouses in new York City which could be attributed to increasing levels of education attainment by Latina Americans.

The principal finding in this study was that between 1990 and 2010 growing percentages of domestic-born Latina household heads married non-Latino spouses. In 1990, about 17 percent of domestic-born Latinas married a non-Latino spouse, which increased to 34 percent by 2010. Comparatively, domestic-born Latino men saw a small increase in rates of marriage to non-Latinos. Foreign-born Latinos and Latinas had low and steady rates of exogenous marriages. (See figure 9).

“About one-third of the City’s domestic-born Latinas were married to a non-Latino spouse in 2010 and this rate increased significantly from 1990,” said Laird W. Bergad, Distinguished Professor of History, the Graduate Center, Lehman College and director of the Center for Latin American, Caribbean & Latino Studies. “This trend could be a reflection of the increasing levels of educational attainment and acculturation among domestic-born Latinas.”

The study also finds that the Latinos who married a non-Latino spouse were most likely to marry non-Hispanic white spouses, rather than non-Hispanic black or Asian spouses.

“This was especially the case among domestic-born Latinas, whose rates of marriage to non-Hispanic whites was high and increased greatly,” said Amanda Mía Marín-Chollom, co-author of the report and a Ph.D. candidate at the Graduate Center. “Rates of marriage between domestic-born Latinas and non-Hispanic white spouses increased from about 11 percent in 1990 to 23 percent in 2010.”

The report examines marriage patterns among Latinos in New York City between 1990 and 2010. It focuses on the patterns of race/ethnicity, sex, nativity, and Latino nationality on spousal choices. The data come from the American Community Survey PUMS (Public Use Microdata Series) released by the Census Bureau and reorganized for public use by the Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota, IPUMSusa.  

“Puerto Ricans also stand out in this data, said Marín-Chollom. “Of the Latino subgroups Puerto Rican household heads had the highest rate of marriages to non-Latinos in 2010, at 18 percent, a substantial increase, from about seven percent in 1990.”

Puerto Ricans’ rate of marriage to non-Hispanic blacks in 2010, five percent, was higher than other Latino subgroups, which all had rates around one percent. This increasing trend in rates of exogenous marriage may be because the majority of the City’s Puerto Ricans are domestic-born.

The analyzed data also reflects that rates of marriage between Mexicans and non-Latinos dropped from 18 percent in 1990 to 10 percent in 2010. The declining pattern may be attributed to the arrival of more foreign-born Mexicans in New York City, as foreign-born Latinos tended to marry other Latinos. Dominicans had the highest rates of marriages to Latinos between 1990 and 2010, at 96 and 97 percent, respectively. This could be related to the high percentages of foreign-born Dominicans in New York City.

Figure 9

About the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies
The Center for Latin American, Caribbean & Latino Studies (CLACLS) promotes the study and understanding of Latin American and Caribbean cultures and the communities established in the United States, with a special focus on New York City, by peoples from this vast and extraordinarily diverse region. CLACLS researches and publishes innovative data-based studies focused upon New York City’s and the nation’s Latino communities, such as CLACLS' flagship Latino Data Project. The Latino Data Project provides the public with insights on various aspects of the New York City Latino experience.

About the Graduate Center
The Graduate Center’s (GC) mission is to prepare the next generation of scholars for careers in the academy, cultural institutions, and public service, to carry out advanced research and scholarship, and to increase public understanding of pressing matters of local and global significance. Approximately 4,500 students are enrolled in forty doctoral and master’s programs, sustained by a wide range of financial support. Recognized for its scholarly leadership across the humanities, sciences, and social sciences, the GC is also a platform for influential public intellectuals, who, through the GC’s public programs, inform and enliven debate, and enrich the cultural life of New York City. 

Submitted on: JUN 5, 2015

Category: Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies | Press Room