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Has There Been A Change In The Gender Gap In Interracial Marriage?
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February 01, 2011, 03:21 AM
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In my 1997 National Review article "Is Love Colorblind?" I calculated, based on 1990 Census data, that in interracial married couples featuring one black spouse and one white spouse, the husband was black and the wife was white 72% of the time. Judging by this graph in the New York Times using 2009 data (warning: smaller sample sizes in years not divisible by 10), this proportion has fallen from 72% black husbands to 68% black husbands over the last 19 years.

In contrast, in 1990, 28% of the white-Asian married couples featured an Asian husband. By 2009, that figure had risen to 29%.

Hence, we see some narrowing of the famous gender gap (famous among my readers, and among people with eyes in their heads), but not much overall.

Of course, there could be more complicated things going on within subgroups. I`d be particularly interested in looking at native-born v. immigrants. And what about all the people cohabiting without benefit of clergy? Also, the Asian group has shifted significantly toward South Asians since 1990.

In my 1997 article, I couldn`t find data on Asian-black marriages (e.g., Tiger Woods` parents, although Tiger`s dad was 1/4 Chinese), but I surmised that the gender gap ratio was extreme, which would support my theory of causation for the gender gaps (racial differences in average levels of masculinity and femininity — P.S., before responding huffily to this, please read "Is Love Colorblind?" so you can at least engage in an informed discussion). The NYT reports than in 2009, of the tiny number of Asians married to blacks, 7/8ths are Asian wives married to black husbands.

In 2009, overall, 95% of married non-Hispanic whites are married to another non-Hispanic white. So, interracial marriage (and its side effects, such as the gender gap) continues to have more impact on minorities.