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“Ethnic Variations in Characteristics of First Unions” 185

In contrast, although South Asian countries have also

experienced declining marriage rates over the past few decades

(Jones, 2005), non-marriage by choice is still not considered

normative and is often seen as failing in one’s filial duty in countries

like Vietnam (Williams & Guest, 2005). Marriage is still virtually

universal, particularly for men (East-West Center, 2002).

Furthermore, prior research has indicated that South and Southeast

Asian men and women generally marry earlier than their peers in

East Asia, which is characterized by dramatically delayed marriages

in the twenties and foregone marriages at older ages (Jones &

Gubhaju, 2009). In the Philippines, although proportions of

never-married men and women in their thirties have increased since

1960, the percentage of never-married population between the ages

45-49 has remained relatively stable at 4-7% for nearly half a

century (Jones, 2005). Marriages are largely delayed but not

foregone in the Philippines. Co-residential unions have been on the

rise for recent young cohorts of Filipino men and women. Analysis

of the 2002 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study reveals that

about 58% of those aged 25-27 years old have cohabited at least

once (Williams et al., 2007). Non-marital births have soared to a

striking 50% in 2014 (Philippine Statistics Authority, 2016).

As early marriage is not as common as it used to be in most

regions of East and South Asia (Williams & Guest, 2005), it can be

expected that immigrants from these regions will also experience

changes in family values and what they consider as ideal timing for

union formation. The distinct socioeconomic profiles of East and

South Asian Americans are then crucial to determining which

groups remain more traditional than others, given that individuals

with more education tend to be more secular and more receptive to

new values and attitudes during the demographic transition process

(Lesthaeghe & van de Kaa, 1986). On the other hand, demographic

indicators show that family changes have been observed among

young Filipinos, though the scope of behavioral shifts in marriage is

not as dramatic as those found in advanced East Asian economies;