still, rates of premarital cohabitation and non-marital births are
drastically higher than those reported in any East Asian country.
B. Racial/Ethnic Differences in Union Formation
An extensive literature can be found on intermarriage patterns
between Asian Americans and Americans of European ancestry. Yet,
research on intermarriage patterns often does not incorporate
cohabitation into the analyses, and studies that look at cohabitation
behaviors among Asian Americans barely exist. One study that
touches upon cohabitation is that by Liang and Ito (1999). They
used the 5% Public Use Micro-Data Sample from the 1990 U.S.
Census to investigate union formation patterns of five Asian ethnic
groups in the New York City region. Individuals in the analytical
sample were born between the mid-1920s and 1970. Although
cohabitation is included in this study, the statistics on ethnic
differentials in intermarriage and inter-cohabitation were not
separated due to limited event counts.1
Overall, they discovered
that among 20-64-year-olds, regardless of generational status,
Japanese and Filipino Americans have much higher percentages of
intermarriage and inter-cohabitation with individuals from other
racial/ethnic groups compared to Chinese, Korean, or Asian Indian
Americans. Furthermore, the proportions of Asian Americans who
marry to or cohabit with whites are much higher among East Asian
(i.e., Chinese, Korean, and Japanese Americans) and Filipino
Americans than among their Asian Indian peers.
A recent study by Min and Kim (2009) reported on ethnic
variation in intermarriages among Asian Americans. Using data
from the American Community Survey (ACS) collected between
2001 and 2006, they explored single-race Asian Americans’
intermarriage and cross-generational marriages by ethnic group and
The percentages of cohabitation observed among the ethnic groups are highest
among Japanese (2.1%) and Filipino (1.7%). Comparable statistics for Chinese,
Korean, and Indian Americans are 1.1%, 1.1%, and 0.6%.