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Vol. 47, No. 2


June 2017





Institute of European and American Studies, Academia Sinica

Ethnic Variations in Characteristics of

First Unions among Asian American

Young Adults

Yen-hsin Alice Cheng

Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica

No. 128, Sec. 2, Academia Rd., Taipei 11529, Taiwan



This study investigates the characteristics of first

cohabitations and first marriages formed by Asian

American young adults, focusing specifically on ethnic

variations between East Asian, Filipino, and South Asian

Americans. The fourth wave of Add Health data, which

collects complete union histories of all respondents

between the ages of 25 to 32 in years 2007-2008, offers a

unique opportunity to study first unions formed by recent

young immigrants. The findings show that the level of

cohabitation is very similar across all Asian subgroups

when socio-demographic covariates are considered. East

Asians and Filipinos delay marriage longer than do South

Asians. Filipinos are more likely to turn a first

cohabitation into a marriage and to have a first marriage

preceded by cohabitation than are the other two groups.

Finally, East Asians are significantly more likely to have a

Received August 26, 2016; accepted March 31, 2017; last revised May 9, 2017

Proofreaders: Chih-wei Wu, Teyi Yu, Chia-Chi Tseng