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“Ethnic Variations in Characteristics of First Unions” 183

largely migrated to the U.S. in seek of asylum from their war-torn

home countries (Zhou, 2007).

Filipino immigrants, on the other hand, have a longer history

of immigration to the U.S. than most other Asian immigrants. The

first wave of Filipino immigrants arrived at the U.S. continent after

the Philippines became the first American colony following the

Spanish-American War at the turn of the twentieth century. The

Philippines were under deep U.S. influence during the half-century

American colonial governance and English is one of the two official

languages used and taught in the country. Later on, the waves of

post-1965 immigration to the U.S. brought in numerous

professional, white-collar Filipinos seeking better career

opportunities (Xie & Goyette, 2004). This unique colonial and

immigration history has made Filipino Americans relatively more

acculturated than other Asian immigrants. In a study conducted in

San Diego to adult children of Asian immigrants, 90% of Filipinos

prefer to speak only English and nearly 60% of them identify

themselves as “Hyphenated American”

both figures are

significantly higher than all the other ethnic groups (i.e.,

Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian, Hmong, and Chinese) included

in the study (Zhou & Xiong, 2005). Exposure to U.S. culture from

the colonial past and the higher English proficiency among Filipino

Americans are likely to bring their values and attitudes closer to the

mainstream American culture. Their socioeconomic profile tends to

fall between those of immigrants from East Asia and South Asia, but

in general is much closer to the former than the latter group

(Reeves & Bennett, 2004).

Turning to cultural values, given that Asian Americans are

over-represented by first- and second-generation immigrants, their

values and attitudes inevitably resemble those held by compatriots

in the sending countries. Foner (1997) stated well how immigrant

families engage in an active process of fusing together old traditions

and new social codes learned in the United States: “. . . the family is

seen as a place where there is a dynamic interplay between structure,