by Genevieve Heard, Siew-Ean Khoo and Bob Birrell, Centre for Population and Urban Research, Monash University [for the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census Analytic Program], July 2009
Birthplace, ancestry, religion and indigenous status are traditionally strong determinants of partner choice. Where marriage occurs across group boundaries, it is therefore of much interest, particularly in a culturally diverse nation such as Australia. A key indicator of social integration, intermarriage in Australia reflects the erosion of longstanding social and cultural divisions between indigenous and non-indigenous people, between Catholics and Protestants and those of other faiths, and between those of Anglo-Celtic descent and those of other ethnic backgrounds. This report shows that the barriers to intermarriage in Australia are ever weaker, and explores the implications of this trend for our society.