“You must have been born in Pearl Harbor ‘cause, baby, you da bomb!” probably won’t get you very far in the dating world. But then again that doesn’t mean everyone around you is single and ready to mingle anyway. That’s because, chances are, if you are an Asian American woman in your mid-20s, then you are stereotypically already married, with most likely an interracial partner, or are in such intense pursuit of a career, you don’t have time to even pencil in dating activities.
Or you may be the eldest daughter in a traditional family that has placed familial burdens on you. Whatever the case may be, the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center has issued a report outlining marriage age for Asian American women, and it found that it is generally much later than the national average.
According to the report: “In traditional Asian homes, the oldest daughter often faces additional responsibilities and social roles, such as helping raise younger siblings, getting an education and a job to help support the family, and taking care of her elderly parents.”
Asian Americans are reported as having the second highest rate among racial groups of never marrying. The report said that there does not seem to be a clear connection between higher education and not marrying.
This is surprising news for many, including commentator Reflective SAM, of the popular blog, singleasianmale.com.
“[Asian parents] are afraid you’re going to hit your expiration date, and that nobody will love you like a box of curdled milk,” he writes. “They start trying to set you up with their friend’s friend’s daughters, like the girl that works at the teriyaki shop who looks like Margaret Cho.”
Bahira Sherif Trask and Julie Koivunen did a study on trends in marriage and cohabitation at the University of Delaware. They determined that Asian Americans have the lowest rate of cohabitation, at about 5 percent. In comparison, Caucasian Americans are at about 8.2 percent, a difference they claim is a result of cultural differences.
According to the Pew Research Center, a record 14.6 percent of all new marriages are interracial or interethnic. Among all newlyweds in 2008, 31 percent of Asians married someone whose race or ethnicity differed from their own — the most for any minority group. What’s interesting is this rate has not increased like it has for many other racial groups; rather, it has stayed almost the same since 1980, even experiencing a slight dip.
But not every Asian American is equally disposed to be in an interracial/interethnic marriage. The Asian Nation site reported that Japanese and Korean Americans are far more likely to marry across ethnic lines while Asian Indians were least likely. Filipino, Japanese, and Korean Americans are most likely to marry other races.
“It’s not quite like it was before, when there were only two Asian kids in your school — you and this other boy/girl — and everyone thought you two should go together to the prom. Forced coupling,” said blogger Angry Asian Man.
Ohio State University sociologist Zhenchao Qian did a study studying interracial marriages in 1990 to 2000. He discovered that number marrying outside their race fell from 42 to 33 percent during the decade.
“The immigrant population fundamentally changes the pool of potential partners for Asians and Hispanics. It expands the number and reinforces the culture, which means the second generation . . . is more likely to marry people of their own ethnicity,” said Daniel T. Lichter, a sociologist at Cornell University in a Washington Post article.
Another trend found in the study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 40 percent of Asian female newlyweds had married outside their race in 2008, as opposed to just 20 percent of Asian males. Bloger, Controversial SAM, believes it may be because Asian men want someone with a similar cultural and linguistic background, especially when it comes time to raising children.
“Sure, we’d like to sleep with anyone while we’re single,” said Controversial SAM, “but for marriage purposes, we want Asian. The mother of our children and the woman that we will come to respect, honor, and love, she’s got to be Asian.”