Building on insights from Min’s (2010) comparisons between Korean Protestants and Indian Hindus, and my findings of elite freshmen Korean racial insularity (2012), I use data from the Immigration and Intergenerational Mobility in Metropolitan Los Angeles (2004) survey to examine the extent to which religion serves to not only preserve ethnicity but also support insularity in young adult 1.5- and second-generation (“second generation” hereafter) Korean Americans. Findings suggest that at the racial level of comparison, second-generation Korean-American endogamy resembles that of white, black, and Latino endogamy; second-generation Korean-American endogamy reflects not only the highest intraracial marriage rate, but also the highest intraethnic marriage rate of all Asian groups in the sample. Further, religious married second-generation Korean Americans have the highest racially homogeneous composition rate in the congregations they attend relative to other racial groups and other Asian ethnicities. In multivariate analyses, these two dynamics of marital endogamy and congregational racial homophily produce strong effects on one another and diminish the unique Korean effect. Findings suggest that these group relational patterns are more evident for second-generation Korean Americans and may have implications for social mobility in a racialized context.
*This paper was originally presented at the Fourth Annual Conference of the Research Center for Korean Community at Queens College CUNY, April 5-7, 2013. The paper was subsequently published in the journal Development and Society, Volume 42, Number 1, June 2013, pages 113-136. We would like to thank Development and Society for allowing us to post this paper on Korean American Data Bank. Special thanks to Thomas Chung for editorial assistance.