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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.


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%.