A Boundary Approach to Understanding the Integration of Asian Americans

Dina G. Okamoto, University of California, Davis

In this paper, marriage outcomes are analyzed to further understand the integration of Asian Americans, a new immigrant group, into American society. Instead of utilizing assimilation theories that focus on individual-level variables such as education and nativity, I develop and test a new boundary approach that emphasizes the importance of structured contexts at ethnic and racial boundary levels to understand intermarriage outcomes. Using the concept of panethnicity, this approach recognizes the layered character of ethnic boundaries and the salience of ethnic and racial boundaries for contemporary immigrant groups. Multinomial logistic regression models are used to analyze marriage data taken from the 2000 PUMS. The predictions suggest that group size, segregation, and heterogeneity should influence marriage outcomes, and that examining the effects of structural variables measured at the larger boundary of race and smaller boundary of ethnicity should provide a more complete understanding of the contexts that influence group members to enter into interracial, interethnic, and endogamous marriages.

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Presented in Session 93: Racial/Ethnic Formations and Immigration