Migration and Residential Outcomes for Immigrant-Native Mixed Couples upon Separation in Switzerland

Julie Lacroix , University of St Andrews

Immigrant-native intermarriage are increasingly common in European countries. As with other exogamous partnerships, ethnically mixed couples have a higher risk of divorce than endogamous couples, especially among partners who are considered more “culturally distant” from one another. Yet, the disruptive impacts of a separation on immigrants’ housing careers and their gendered expression in the context of immigrant-native relations have not been explored. Drawing on administrative registers and a large sample from a nationally representative survey, this study analyses post-separation migration and residential outcomes among immigrant-native mixed couples in Switzerland. It addresses the question, are the gender balance and bargaining power between ex-partners the same for male-immigrant/female-native partnerships and for male-native/female-immigrant couples? Are these dynamics contingent on the presence of children or the time since immigration to Switzerland? By analysing who moves out of the family home (the man, the woman or both) following a separation, this paper questions whether the gender dynamics at the time of a separation hinges on the partners’ origin. The results show that in mixed nativity couples the person with the foreign origin (either the man or the woman) is disproportionately more likely to leave the family home following a separation. Although the time spent in the country – a proxy for the accumulation of location-specific capital – plays an important role in this process, the foreign-born ex-partner is still more likely than the native ex-partner to move out of the joint home even after more than ten years in the country.

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 Presented in Session 64. Flash Session: International and Internal Mobility