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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

December 11, 2005

Written by C.N.

More Pan-Asian Couples

East-West Magazine has an article in its latest issue that describes the increasing popularity and prominence of inter-ethnic/pan-Asian couples in recent years. In fact, they relied on a very authoritative source to describe their findings:

C.N. Le, chairman of the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, says he too has noticed a rise in inter-Asian dating. Using census data, he has found that about 10 percent of all married Asian Americans have a pan-Asian/inter-Asian spouse. Le’s research also shows that those who are in pan-Asian/inter-Asian marriages tend to be highly educated and have very high levels of socioeconomic achievement.

“So in a lot of ways, these inter-Asian couples are emerging as a notable part of the entire Asian American community,” he explains. Several factors may be contributing to this rise in inter-Asian relationships, Le says, including the increasing ethnic diversity in colleges and the growing Asian American population.

“I think another reason might be that young Asian Americans feel more free to explore all the marriage options available to them – endogamous (same ethnicity) spouse, white spouse or pan-Asian/inter-Asian spouse,” Le says. “Maybe some Asian Americans experimented with having a white boy/girlfriend and are now ready for something a little different.

Combined with the gradually improving portrayals of Asian Americans (especially men) in American society, they may see a pan-Asian/inter-Asian relationship as a fresh and new experience worth exploring.”

I sound rather authoritative, don’t I? Or not . . .

At any rate, my colleague J.J. Huang has done some tabulations using 2004 Census data that also confirms this trend toward more inter-ethnic/pan-Asian relationships. He finds that for some Asian groups (especially U.S.-raised women), they rates of marrying Whites has actually gone down in recent years while their rates for marring inter-ethnically have gone up.

This is an exciting trend that can potentially have significant consequences for the development and strengthening of a true pan-Asian American racial identity in years and decades to come.


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Copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le. Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "More Pan-Asian Couples" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2005/12/more-pan-asian-couples/> ().

Short URL: http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/?p=181