Indian American survey (outmarriage rate)

The sex-ratio skews male outmarriage for immigrants but balances out for native-born Indian Americans. The 30% rate is pretty low from what I expected. Also, surprised that 40% of spouses of Indian Americans were Indians born in India, but I wonder what percentage of these are 1.5 generation (born abroad, raised in the USA).

17 thoughts on “Indian American survey (outmarriage rate)”

  1. You are right, I suspect the ratio would be even higher if you include the place where spouse attended college.

  2. Like european, the category “Indian” is quite a big umbrella. From what I remember reading off a paper, there’s quite a big variation in exogamy rates based on religion. Hindus and Muslims hover around 10% (with a drop in recent decades), while sikhs have traditionally been ~ 3.5% with a further drop to ~2.5% in 2011. This piece of data is from Canada, and I doubt things would any different in the US, except a bit higher for each category (salad bowl vs melting pot).

    The pattern holds in the UK with sikhs out marrying the least of all religions. Hindus a bit behind, while muslims outmarry in significant number to my surprise (ex-muslims?).

    There’s got to be variation on ethnicity, and that’s a juicy piece of research waiting to be conducted.


    “Pakistani (3%), Indian (3%) and Bangladeshi (2%) dependent children were least likely to live in a household with an inter-ethnic relationship”

    From 2011 census data. Vast majority of UK S Asian Muslims are Banglaseshi and Pakistani. Most Indians are Hindu or Sikh. And the intermarriage data for ethnicity shows slightly lower rates among Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, as compared to Indians. All under 10%.

    Your point of high intermarriage among Muslim S Asians doesn’t hold much weight. Unless, you meant Muslims in general. S Asians, regardless of religion are quite conservative.

    The Sikh data point of 3.5% is something I have to investigate.

  4. @Singh

    The data contradicts what you state. I think you misread or misremembered.

    In the UK, Sikhs outmarry slightly less than Hindus. But both groups are still 90+% endogamous. Muslims do not our marry the most.

    Religion of LS member in partnership ‘Traditional’ (married, same religion) (%) Exogamous (married or cohabiting) (%) Cohabiting (partner of any religion) (%)
    Christian 69 14 22
    Muslim 91 5 5
    Hindu 90 8 4
    Sikh 92 5 4
    Jewish 68 27 13
    Asian Buddhist 54 40 13
    All other Buddhist 29 61 33
    Other religion 35 53 33
    No religion 40 29 42
    Changed religion 3 95 32
    Not stated 79 0 21
    All groups 67 16 24

  5. And I realize you stated supposed Canadian data and I cited UK data. I will look into Canadian data. But for UK, your extrapolation was false.

    The Canadian Sikh population is generally thought to be the most conservative and also most into separatist politics. The flavor of culture there is a bit unique. In my experience, Jat Sikh ethnocentrism peaks in GTA, Vancouver, and the CA central valley. That likely contributes to the more conservative marriage behaviors, if what you are saying is true. I will dive deeper into the Canadian data to verify.

  6. FWIW, many of the South Asians that I knew in college (both foreign born and U.S. born) had arranged marriages.

    The outmarriage rate of the community of South Asian Hindus in metro Denver, of which one of my employees is a part, is also very low. This community also has a very high rate (> 90%) of marrying someone in the first serious relationship that either member of the couple has experienced, which from my outsider’s view appears to be coming from something less than truly arranged marriages, but more directed and guided than free for all “love marriage”.

    Notably, however, while most marry other South Asians, out of necessity, probably most of those marriages are themselves “outmarriages” to people, for example, with roots in different South Asian regions whose families speak different non-English first languages and often who have also spent more of their time in the U.S. within very different U.S. regional cultures. These gaps appear to often lead to considerable distrust between the families of the bride and groom.

  7. 1. If you were to adjust for caste, then outmarriage rates would likely be much higher. While I understand that Americans obsess about race, I don’t think other Asian groups like Chinese, Filipinos or Koreans have something like caste. I think razib has mentioned this too, that in the genetic data there is much more mixing prevalent in previous generations among East Asians than among most desis (except Bengalis).

    2. Pew did a survey of Indians living in India on their attitudes to inter-religious marriage and, surprise surprise, the most hostile were moslems with Hindus not far behind.

      1. diet restriction is a huge part of this. Jains take vegetarianism very seriously. Also most Jains are mercantile and relatively wealthy on average. So a lot of it is about business alliances via marriage.

      2. Jains are just another section of UCs rivalling the Brahmins for the top spot

        1. Jains just have money. But no real power. Neither administrative like the Brahmins nor street like the land owning OBCs.

          1. warlock, you are underestimating jain prestige. Yes there’s very high household income, but jains probably garner more respect than their guj/rajasthani hindu brothers do to higher emphasis on education and philanthropy. Also, many of us in other parts of india know that the heros of our own past were thought to be jains.

    1. There is a lot of interesting stuff in this survey. Would be nice to have a seperate thread / post to discuss.

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