Patterns of intermarriages among foreign-born Asians in the United States




Bohm, Maggie

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The Asian population has the highest rate of intermarriages in the United States. However, the majority of studies on Asian intermarriages lump Asians together without considering nativity or focus on native-born Asians, and there is limited research on the patterns and determinants of intermarriages among foreign-born Asians. To fill these gaps, this study examines the patterns and determinants of intermarriages among foreign-born Asians in the United States. Four research questions guide this study. First, what is the dominant pattern of intermarriage among foreign-born Asians? Second, how do different ethnic groups of foreign-born Asians differ in interracial and interethnic marriages? Third, how do intermarriage patterns differ by gender among foreign-born Asians? Fourth, what are the determinants of interracial and interethnic marriages among foreign-born Asians?

This study proposes a theoretical framework that incorporates the useful ideas of social exchange theory, status inconsistency theory, and assimilation theory with the addition of migration for explaining intermarriage among foreign-born Asians. Seventeen hypotheses are proposed for testing. Data from the 2008-2012 American Community Survey are utilized to determine the patterns of intermarriages among foreign-born Asians at the national level. Multinomial logistic regression was used to test the theoretical framework and hypotheses on the determinants of intermarriages.

The results show the most dominant pattern of marriage among foreign-born Asian ethnic groups was intra-ethnic marriages; followed by interracial and particularly with Whites. Foreign-born Asian females are more likely to interracially and interethnically marry rather than to marry with co-ethnics compared to foreign-born Asian males. In terms of interethnic marriages, Japanese are more likely to interethnically marry. For determinants of intermarriages among Asian immigrants the findings support the hypotheses for age, sex, income, education, English proficiency, length of residency, and migration. Results also support the majority of the hypotheses for status inconsistency on income and education across householders and spouses. The findings have implications for future research on intermarriages among foreign-born Asians and for Asian American panethnicity and solidarity.



Social sciences, Asians, Inter-ethnic marriages, Interracial marriages, Migration