School Racial Composition and Adolescent Racial Homophily


Joyner, K. & Kao, G. (2000). School Racial Composition and Adolescent Racial Homophily. Social Science Quarterly. vol. 81 (3) pp. 810-825


Objective. Even though schools are characterized by an unprecedented amount of racial diversity, it is unclear whether a racially diverse student body necessarily translates into friendships between adolescents from different racial groups. We examine how schools structure adolescent racial homophily, that is, adolescents' tendency to form friendships with students who are similar with respect to race. Methods. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we examine how the racial composition of schools influences the chances of having an interracial friendship for U.S. adolescents in grades seven through twelve. Results. Our results demonstrate that white, black, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American adolescents differ greatly in their chances of having an interracial friendship. They additionally demonstrate that adolescents' chances of having an interracial friendship increase dramatically as the proportion of same-race students in their schools decreases. Finally, they suggest that school racial composition accounts for a large part of the variation in interracial friendship by race, but not for all of it. Conclusions. We conclude that racial differences in interracial friendship reflect opportunities and preferences for interracial contact.



school racial composition

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Social Science Quarterly


Joyner, K.
Kao, G.

Year Published


Volume Number


Issue Number




Reference ID