China Population and Development Studies

, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 384–400 | Cite as

Persistent low fertility among the East Asia descendants in the United States: perspectives and implications

  • Yong CaiEmail author
  • S. Philip Morgan
Original Article


We focus on a small but growing segment of the U.S. population, those who identify as Chinese, Japanese and Korean (CJK), and compare CJK fertility to other race/ethnic groups in the United States. CJK women in the U.S. exhibit a distinct, pervasive, and persistent pattern of late and low fertility with nearly all births occurring within marriage; this pattern displays a strong parallel to their counterparts in their countries of origin. To accompany this description, we offer a perspective on fertility difference that has broad applicability and that does not consistently predict that differences will disappear/remain. This discussion unites the literature on assimilation, segmented assimilation and pluralistic outcomes and processes. We also discuss the possible implications of these findings for country level policies to increase fertility. Most generally, these discussions are a corrective to demographer’s penchant for predicting secular change and convergence.


Low fertility Chinese/Japanese/Korean Theory of conjunctural action Segmented assimilation U.S. fertility differences 



This research was supported by NIH/NICHD R01-HD075560. We are grateful to the Carolina Population Center and its NIH/NICHD center grant (P2C HD050924) for general support. We thank Herbert Smith and Peter McDonald for comments on earlier drafts of this paper.


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Copyright information

© China Population and Development Research 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Carolina Population CenterUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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