A public sociologist, numbers get me really hot and bothered. Fewer people would hate math if they learned it in a practical way. Who really cares about the probability of selecting a red ball out of a bag? Also, public trust in statistics might increase if researchers more fully disclosed their how they came up with their numbers. (Remember when I showed you guys how Freakanomics botched reporting on interracial kids?) In an effort to show you how fun numbers can be, let’s use stats to answer this question: How many Asian chicks are hooking up with white dudes?
“Asia” is a huge continent with its people spread throughout the entire world. Let’s limit our search to Asian Americans because I’m nationalist like that. USA! USA! Also, I’ll stick with marriage and cohabiting data instead of “hooking up.” It’s more straight forward and easier to quantify: People are either married (or living together) or they aren’t. Good news is reputable statisticians, my “merry band of Lovable Nerds” at the U.S. Census Bureau, already collect this data. So, I can crunch it to answer even better questions: How many Asian American women (and men!) marry or cohabit interracially? Further, when they do cohabit or marry interracially, is it true that they’re pairing off with white people?
Because I wanted the answers to be easy to understand and available to all, I worked with my friend PK to create simple infographics. The images tell you where I got the data, explain how to contact me if you have questions, and include all sources to pay credit where credit is due.
For larger versions, or to copy and paste these goodies to your non-commercial website, here are the images:
Asian American Marriage Rates
How often to Asian Americans marry interracially?
How often do Asian Americans cohabit interracially?
Interracial Relationships: Asian Americans and the National Average
Asian American Interracial Relationships [all graphics in one image]
MARRIAGE: Approximately 91% of Asian American men marry women who are Asian American, and only 9% marry interracially. Of Asian American women, more than 1 in 5 marry interracially. When their partners aren’t Asian American, the men’s wives (71%) and the women’s husbands (79%) are most likely to be white.
COHABITATION: Of the Asian American men with live-in girlfriends, 66% of those women are Asian American and 34% are not Asian American. Of the women living with their boyfriends, only 45% of their dudes are Asian American because the majority of these women cohabit interracially.
THAT’S ALL VERY INTERESTING, BUT …
Consider this: The U.S. Census reports about 77% of Americans are white. It makes sense that Asian Americans have more husbands, wives, girlfriends, and boyfriends who are white, given they make up a larger percentage of the population. That said, look at the charts again. Given the field of eligibles, with Asian American women marrying white men as the sole exception, these couplings are actually less white than they could be (i.e. < 77%).
Putting it all together.
WHO IS “ASIAN” ANYWAY?
In the graphics above, I counted as “Asian” anyone solely checking the “Asian” U.S. Census box which includes: Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, or Other Asian. Not included in this category are Native Hawaiian, Guamanian, Samoan, or Other Pacific Islanders. Also not included are people who self-identify as hapa (e.g. Asian American and another race/ethnicity). With all data, how you cut it matters; slice it differently, you may yield slightly altered results. Hence, the importance of disclosing what you’re counting and how you’re counting it. As I mentioned in Guess Who Likes to F*ck Asians?:
The U.S. Census might not necessarily count a Korean American husband with a Japanese American wife as an interethnic couple; however, a Filipina wife who self-identifies as Asian and her Filipino husband who self-identifies as Asian race and Hispanic/Latino ethnicity could be considered an interethnic couple. That’s the problem with trying to touch socially-constructed concepts such as “race” and “ethnicity.” If it doesn’t really exist and isn’t fully tangible, how can you accurately describe it? Read More
The PBS documentary SEEKING ASIAN FEMALE has a six-part companion web series THEY’RE ALL SO BEAUTIFUL, and I’m a contributor. These graphics also appear there. By the way, I must say PK and I make absolutely gorgeous blasian artistic collaborations. Stats + Design = Infographic. Twanna = Black. PK = Asian. Twanna + PK = READY TO ROCK YOUR WORLD! ;) If you’re a media outlet, you should hire us. We’re working on something pretty fantastic, and we’d like to tell you about it.