Asian American Views Toward Divorce

Christina Tran

Speaking as a California native, it is no hidden fact that the divorce rate in the United States is at an enormous high.

The stats for divorce are as follow:

1st marriages: 41% to 50%

Second marriage: 60% to 67%

3rd marriages: 73% to 74%

Evidently, there are countless number of reasons that contribute to the decision to file for divorce. Two general factors that greatly increase the chance of divorce is being childless and coming from a family of divorced parents. Products of divorce parents are 4 times more prone to divorcing than the children of couples who are not divorced. It only makes sense- social psychology states that one is influence by their environment and children tend naturally reciprocate a lot of the actions their parents have committed.

Now, studies show that an estimate of only about 5-6% of Asian Americans are currently separated or divorced. The reason for this is that the Asian culture highly emphasizes being family oriented and communal. Divorce is a very unattractive quality in the Asian culture as it means the disconnecting of a family, something that the culture greatly values.

Another contributing factor would be that Asian immigrants are committed to survive and build their family once they have entered America. It is tremendously difficult to enter an entirely new culture in which most immigrants had no family, no money and no previous knowledge of the language. For this matter, they are entirely committed to sacrificing to keep their family together. Asian Americans are also known to have the highest level of educational and economical levels of any other major ethnic group. All of these factors have been reported to bringing stability to Asian family culture.

An associate professor of sociology at San Jose University shares: “We are more group-and family-oriented, perhaps not so individualistic. Asians expect the parents to stay together. That may come from the Buddhist religion and other traditions in which the children are taught to respect their parents and ancestors.”

More than 80% of Asian American children in the United States reside with both parents, a 20% higher rate than any other racial group, according to the Census Bureau study. “This is just a tradition. Divorce is something quite new to the Asian countries, really only in the last 50 years,” said Juju Lien, executive director of the Asian-American Institute in Chicago.

Now that I have touch based on a brief description of the Asian outlook on divorce, let’s shift gears and speak about whether or not the lower divorce rate is a good or bad thing?

Entering a more dark reality approach, Kung Dickerson, an Asian American divorce attorney, states that it is a bad thing. In this video,, she shares the horrendous realities that Asian American women must endure in their marriages. Many Asian American women must deal with domestic violence and although they are contemplating divorce or separation, many do not go forth with it. The culture highly discourages women to file for divorce; there are such high traditional cultural pressures Asian American women must abide by. A majority of Asian American women are traditional and put their family and children first-even if that means substituting her own happiness.

Although there is such a huge amount of negative stigma associated with divorce, it is extremely heartbreaking to witness domestic violence within a marriage. I have witnessed domestic violence firsthand within a few marriages and it is a very traumatic experience. It strikes fear into a human being’s heart just witnessing it and for someone to actually be the one being abused…that is an entirely different topic. Many individuals question why women would even stay in this situation but every marriage is a lot more complicated than meets the eye.

With all the said, whether or not I agree with the Asian American divorce rate being at an unhealthy low rate is a question I will not answer. I have an opinion for this topic however, I will refrain from answering it.

I am curious to what the readers think? Any comments or stories are welcomed.





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  1. I think Asian culture is much more mature than Western culture in a number of ways. Divorce in western culture is often a product of selfishness and lack of compromises. Unless there’s violence or adultery, divorce is not an option. Stick with your Asian communal values please, your children will thank you eventually. Thanks / Maraming salamat po.


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