, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 651-675
Date: 14 Feb 2012

Crossing Boundaries: Nativity, Ethnicity, and Mate Selection

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Abstract

The influx of immigrants has increased diversity among ethnic minorities and indicates that they may take multiple integration paths in American society. Previous research on ethnic integration has often focused on panethnic differences, and few have explored ethnic diversity within a racial or panethnic context. Using 2000 U.S. census data for Puerto Rican–, Mexican-, Chinese-, and Filipino-origin individuals, we examine differences in marriage and cohabitation with whites, with other minorities, within a panethnic group, and within an ethnic group by nativity status. Ethnic endogamy is strong and, to a lesser extent, so is panethnic endogamy. Yet, marital or cohabiting unions with whites remain an important path of integration but differ significantly by ethnicity, nativity, age at arrival, and educational attainment. Meanwhile, ethnic differences in marriage and cohabitation with other racial or ethnic minorities are strong. Our analysis supports that unions with whites remain a major path of integration, but other paths of integration also become viable options for all ethnic groups.