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“Ethnic Variations in Characteristics of First Unions” 187

gender. The findings show that Japanese, Filipino, Chinese, and

Korean Americans have the highest rates of exogamous marriages

(69.3%, 62.5%, 56.4%, and 54% respectively). In contrast, Asian

Indian, Vietnamese, and other Asian Americans have much lower

rates of inter-racial/ethnic marriages than their East Asian and

Filipino counterparts. Such a strong regional pattern emerged

because Native-born Indians and Vietnamese Americans maintain

strong family ties and attachment to their own heritages, both

culturally and linguistically (Min & Kim, 2009). Moreover, their

study also revealed the much higher rates of intermarriages to other

racial minority groups among Filipino and Japanese Americans

than among other East Asian or Asian Indian Americans. More

social contacts with other minority groups among the Filipino

Americans and higher generational status among Japanese Americans

were argued as two major factors leading to such ethnic differentials.

Taken together, although Asian Indians have a relatively more

advantageous socioeconomic profile in U.S. society, they have been

shown to have much lower intermarriage rates with other racial

groups (Liang & Ito, 1999; Min & Kim, 2009). Native-born Asian

Indian Americans are much more likely to marry first or

1.5-generation Asian Indians and the proportions marrying whites

are much closer to other South Asian Americans than to East Asian

coethnics (Min & Kim, 2009). Two potential explanations to this

deviation from other Asian ethnic groups’ intermarriage patterns

have been suggested in previous research

religious identification

(Sheth, 1995) and the practice of arranged marriage in the Indian

immigrant communities (Foner, 1997; Min & Kim, 2009).

Religion plays a central role in marital choices because it is linked

with core values and cultural practices, which are often barriers to

intermarriage (Kalmijn & van Tubergen, 2010). In addition,

religious intermarriage is often linked with higher risk of union

dissolution (Lehrer & Chiswick, 1993). Hence, it is not surprising

to find that a recent study reported that Hindu/Buddhist groups are

more endogamous than Protestant groups in the United States