Sociological Forum

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 621–646 | Cite as

Gender Differentials in Intermarriage Among Sixteen Race and Ethnic Groups

  • Jerry A. Jacobs
  • Teresa G. Labov


This paper examines gender differences in out-marriage rates in the United States among 16 race and ethnic groups. Among most groups of Asian Americans, females are more likely to marry whites than are their male counterparts, the reverse of the pattern among African Americans discussed by Merton (1941). We find some Hispanic-American groups in both camps. We explore whether the greater contact between white U.S. military personnel in Asian countries explains the pattern of Asian white marriages. We also introduce a new statistical approach that facilitates comparisons across multiple race and ethnic groups. Data from the 1% sample of the 1990 Census are analyzed in this study.

intermarriage gender theory minority groups 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aguirre, Benigno E., Rogelio Saenz, and Sean-Shong Hwang 1995 “Remarriage and intermarriage of Asians in the United States of America. ” Journal of Comparative Family Studies 24(2):207–215.Google Scholar
  2. Alba, Richard 1990 Ethnic Identity: The Transformation of White America. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, Robert N., and Rogelio Saenz 1994 “Structural determinants of Mexican American intermarriage, 1975–1980.” Social Science Quarterly 75:414–430.Google Scholar
  4. Bennett, Neil G., David E. Bloom, and Patricia H. Craig 1989 “The divergence of black and white marriage patterns.” American Journal of Sociology 95(3):692–722.Google Scholar
  5. Blau, Peter M., and Joseph E. Schwartz 1984 Crosscutting Social Circles: Testing a Macrostructural Theory of Inter-group Relations. Orlando, FL: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bourdieu, Pierre 1985 “The forms of capital.” In J. G. Richardson (ed.), Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education: 241–258. New York: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  7. Coleman, Joseph S. 1990 Foundations of Social Theory. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Conley, Dalton 1999 Being Black, Living in the Red. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  9. Cready, Cynthia M., and Rogelio Saenz 1997 “The Nonmetro/metro context of racial/ethnic outmarriage: Some differences between African Americans and Mexican Americans.” Rural Sociology 62(3):335–362.Google Scholar
  10. Davis, Kingsley 1941 “Intermarriage in caste societies.” American Anthropologist 43:376–395.Google Scholar
  11. Espiritu, Yen L. 1992 Asian American Panethnicity Bridging Institutions and Identities. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Gilbertson, Greta A., Joseph P. Fitzpatrick, and Lijun Yang 1996 “Hispanic intermarriage in New York City new evidence from 1991.” International Migration Review 30(2):445–459.Google Scholar
  13. Glenn, Evelyn Nakano 1986 Issei, Nisei, War Bride. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Heaton, Tim B., and Stan L. Albrecht 1996 “The changing pattern of interracial marriage.” Social Biology 43(3/4):203–217.Google Scholar
  15. Heer, David M. 1974 “The prevalence of black-white marriage in the United States, 1960 and 1970.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 36(2):46–58.Google Scholar
  16. Hwang, Sean-Shong, and Rogelio Saenz 1990 “The problem posed by immigrants married abroad on intermarriage research: The case of Asian Americans.” International Migration Review 24 (3):563–576.Google Scholar
  17. Hwang, Sean-Shong, Rogelio Saenz, and Benigno E. Aguirre 1995 “The SES selectivity of interracially married Asians.” International Migration Review 29:469–491.Google Scholar
  18. Hwang, Sean-Shong, Rogelio Saenz, and Benigno E. Aguirre 1997 “Structural and assimilationist explanations of Asian American intermarriage.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 59:758–772.Google Scholar
  19. Kalmijn, Matthijs 1993 “Trends in black/white intermarriage.” Social Forces 72:119–146.Google Scholar
  20. 1 1998 “Intermarriage and homogamy: Causes, patterns, trends.” Annual Review of Sociology 24:395–422.Google Scholar
  21. Kibria, Nazli 1995 “The construction of ‘Asian American.’ ” Paper presented at the American Sociological Association Meetings, August 1995.Google Scholar
  22. Kikumura, Akemi, and Harry H. L. Kitano 1973 “Interracial marriage: A picture of the Japanese Americans.” Journal of SocialIssues 29:67–81.Google Scholar
  23. Kim, Bok-Lim C. 1972 “Casework with Japanese and Korean wives of Americans.” Social Casework 53:273–279.Google Scholar
  24. Kitano, Harry H. L., and Lynn Kyung Chai 1982 “Korean interracial marriage.” Marriage and Family Review 5:75–89.Google Scholar
  25. Kitano, Harry H. L., Lynn Kyung Chai, and Herbert Hatanaka 1984 “Asian American interracial marriage.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 46:179–190.Google Scholar
  26. Kitano, Harry H. L., and Wai-Tsang Yeung 1982 “Chinese interracial marriage.” Marriage and Family Review 5:35–47.Google Scholar
  27. Labov, Teresa G., and Jerry A. Jacobs 1986 “Intermarriage in Hawaii, 1950–1983.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 48:79–88.Google Scholar
  28. 1 1998 “Intermarriage and mixed births in Hawaii: Preserving multiple ancestry.” Journal of Comparative Family Studies 29(3):481–502.Google Scholar
  29. Lee, Sharon M., and Marilyn Fernandez 1998 “Trends in Asian American racial/ethnic intermarriage a comparison of 1980 and 1990 Census Data.” Sociological Perspectives 41(2):323–342.Google Scholar
  30. Lee, Sharon M., and Keiko Yamanaka 1990 “Patterns of Asian American intermarriage and marital assimilation.” Journal of Comparative Family Studies 21(2):287–305.Google Scholar
  31. Leon, Joseph J., Wayne Curtis Brown, and Michael G. Weinstein 1995 “The East-West pattern of ethnic intermarriage and marital assimilation in Hawaii, 1969–71 and 1979–81.” Journal of Comparative Family Studies 26(2):247–253.Google Scholar
  32. Lichter, Daniel T., Felicia B. LeClere, and Diane K. McLaughlin 1991 “Local marriage markets and the marital behavior of black and white women.” American Journal of Sociology 96(4):843–867.Google Scholar
  33. Mare, Robert D. 1991 “Five decades of educational assortative mating.” American Sociological Review 56:15–32.Google Scholar
  34. McCaa, Robert 1993 “Ethnic intermarriage and gender in New York City.” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 24(2):207–231.Google Scholar
  35. Merton, Robert. K. 1941 “Intermarriage and the social structure: Fact and theory.” Psychiatry 4:361–374.Google Scholar
  36. Monahan, Thomas P. 1976 “An overview of statistics on interracial marriage in the United States, with data on its extent from 1963–1970.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 38:223–231.Google Scholar
  37. Oliver, Melvin L., and Thomas M. Shapiro 1996 Black Wealth/White Wealth. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  38. Porterfield, Ernest 1978 Black and White Mixed Marriages: An Ethgraphic Study of Black-White Families. Chicago: Nelson Hall.Google Scholar
  39. Portes, Alejandro 1998 “Social capital: Its origins and applications in modern sociology.” Annual Review of Sociology 24:1–24.Google Scholar
  40. Qian, Zhenchao 1997 “Breaking the racial barriers: Variations in interracial marriage between 1980 and 1990.” Demography 34(2):263–276.Google Scholar
  41. Roberts, Robert E. T. 1994 “Black-White Intermarriage in the U.S.” In W. R. Johnson and D. M. Warren (eds.), Inside the Mixed Marriage: 25–80. New York: University Press of America.Google Scholar
  42. Saenz, Rogelio Saenz, Sean-Shong Hwang, and Benigno E. Aguirre 1994 “In search of Asian war brides.” Demography 31(3):549–559.Google Scholar
  43. Sandefur, Gary D., and Trudy McKinnell 1986 “American Indian intermarriage.” Social Science Research 133:47–71.Google Scholar
  44. Schoen, Robert 1995 “The widening gap between black and white marriage rates: context and implications.” In M. Belinda Tucker and Claudia Mitchell-Kernan (eds.), The Decline in Marriage Among African Americans: Causes, Consequences and Policy Implications: 103–116. New York Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  45. Schoen, Robert, and James R. Kluegel 1988 “The widening gap in black and white marriage rates: The impact of population composition and differential marriage propensities.” American Sociological Review 53:895–907.Google Scholar
  46. Schoen, Robert, and John Wooldredge 1989 “Marriage choice in North Carolina and Virginia, 1969–71 and 1979–81.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 51:465–481.Google Scholar
  47. Schoen, Robert, John Wooldredge, and Barbara Thomas 1989 “Ethnic and educational effects on marriage choice.” Social Science Quarterly 70(3):617–630.Google Scholar
  48. Spickard, Paul R. 1989 Mixed Blood Intermarriage and Ethnic Identity in Twentieth-Century America. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  49. Spickard, Paul R., and Rowena Fong 1995 “Pacific Islander Americans and multiethnicity: A vision of America's future?” Social Forces 73(4):1365–1383.Google Scholar
  50. Sung, Betty Lee 1990 “Chinese American intermarriage.” Journal of Comparative Family Studies 21(2):337–352.Google Scholar
  51. Tinker, John N. 1982 “Intermarriage and assimilation in a plural society Japanese-Americans in the United States.” Marriage and Family Review 5:61–74.Google Scholar
  52. Tucker, M. Belinda, and Claudia Mitchell-Kernan 1990 “New trends in Black American interracial marriage the social structural context.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 52:209–218.Google Scholar
  53. Wilson, Thomas C. 1994 “Trends in tolerance toward rightist and leftist groups, 1976–1988: Efforts of attitude change and cohort succession.” Public Opinion Quarterly 58(4), 539–557.Google Scholar
  54. Wilson, William J. 1978 The Declining Significance of Race: Blacks and Changing American Institutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  55. 1 1987 The Truly Disadvantaged. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jerry A. Jacobs
    • 1
  • Teresa G. Labov
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia

Personalised recommendations