More American-born Chinese (ABC) people are marrying within their race and it might be due to two key factors: China’s improving reputation and the more recent influx of Chinese emigrants.
The percentage of U.S.-born Asian-American couples who married someone outside of their race dropped by almost 10% between 2008 and 2010 as more of them are marrying within their community, according to 2012 census data released by the Pew Research Center.
The number of Asian immigrants in the United States increasing over the last three decades may also be responsible for the rise, giving young people more choices of marriage partners among Asian-Americans, the New York Times reported.
More American-born Chinese are also starting to choose romantic partners of Chinese descent due to common language and some cultural advantages.
Mia Song, 31, was born in California after her Chinese grandparents came to the U.S. and says how her husband was someone she wouldn’t have even looked at twice before.
“Most of my American-born Chinese friends had white boyfriends or girlfriends,” she told Global Times. “It seemed that it was just the way it was supposed to work in my friend circles.”
Graduating from a New York college, Song said she wasn’t looking specifically for a Chinese boyfriend, but she saw that dating a man of Chinese descent isn’t bad.
Tina Li, 32, a manager at a company based in Chicago, and William Qi, her Florida-born Chinese husband tied the knot in 2015.
Li, who was born in Denver, Colorado, never went out with a Chinese man during her college years because of their different background and language barrier.
But after going out with several white men, she started to realize that they only date her because there is a fetish that a lot of white guys have for Asians.
“They did not really understand me as a person,” she said.
It isn’t just the women who are dating within their own race.
Dan Chan, 26, born in Massachusetts to Chinese parents who moved to the U.S. several years ago, said he began asking Chinese girls out because his mother wanted a Chinese daughter-in-law.
It was important to her to incorporate Chinese culture into Chan and his children’s lives.
“My mom only moved to the US because my dad was transferred to the US division of the company he worked for,” he explained.
Another reason Chan’s mother wanted a Chinese daughter-in-law was that she believed it would be hard for her to talk to a woman from a different background about issues like raising future grandchildren and the best way to communicate with her son.
“Deep down, I still could not accept some of the concepts that were deemed very Western although I was born in the U.S.,” he said.
Liu Yun, a sociologist in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, who conducted a study on ABC marriages two years ago, said that more overseas Chinese have started to choose Chinese or people of Chinese origin due to the country’s growing international image.
“Chinese were less likely to be considered inferior in many countries,” she told Global Times.
Another reason was the rise in Chinese immigrants coming to the U.S., which contributed to a larger number of marriage partners.
“Some ABCs used to date white men because that was what was available to them, but now, dating other Chinese has become a more practical option,” she said.