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Finding Inter-Ethnic Love at Work

The impact of one’s neighbours and co-workers on partner selection
Source: cream_ph

A study by Leen Rahnu, Allan Puur, Tom Kleinepier and Tiit Tammaru looked at longitudinal register data from Statistics Finland to see how the share of immigrants in one’s workplace and in one’s residential neighbourhood influences the chances of a native Finn choosing a foreign-born partner. They found positive relationships for both domains: Living in a neighbourhood with immigrants (five per cent or more) increased the chances of a native Finn entering into an ethnically mixed relationship. The same was found for working in an environment with immigrants (five per cent of employees or more), with the workplace having even greater impact on the likelihood of forming such a relationship for Finnish women. Possibly, the explanation for the workplace having a greater effect relates to the type of interaction happening at work versus in one’s neighbourhood. Individuals living in large cities, i.e. those with a large pool of potential partners, were also more likely to be in an ethnically mixed relationship, likely since encounters with different ethnicities is more common, including encounters outside of one’s immediate neighbourhood and workplace. These findings highlight the importance of understanding immigrant integration as a process where various life domains matter; the decrease in residential and workplace segregation can pave the way towards more fundamental forms of integration, such as intermarriage.

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Emily Lines