Zhang, Xing (2018). Adolescent exposure to diverse neighborhoods and schools: Implications for interracial dating, cohabitation, and marriage in adulthood. 2018 Add Health Users Conference.
Interracial relationships and unions signify declining racial and ethnic boundaries between groups, and have grown in prevalence since the declaration of anti-miscegenation laws as unconstitutional in 1967. Kalmijn (1998) outlined several reasons why people engage in interracial relationships and unions; these include preferences, structural opportunities, and third parties. This paper will primarily focus on structural opportunities, and examine the following question: does growing up in a geographically diverse neighborhood increase the likelihood of being in an interracial relationship at later stages of the life course? This paper seeks to address how diversity in different geographic contexts (high school and Census tracts) shapes opportunities to cross racial boundaries. This paper uses data from Waves I, III, IV, and the V pre-sample of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) to assess whether high school and tract diversity in adolescence are associated with the likelihood of being in an interracial relationship in Wave III, when respondents are between 18-26 years old, and in Wave IV, when respondents were between 26-34 years old. It also seeks to address whether moving to a Census tract that is more or less diverse from Waves I to III and IV is associated with an increased or decreased likelihood of being in an interracial relationship. Are individuals who grew up in more diverse contexts in adolescence more likely to be in interracial relationships when moving to a Census tract that is similarly diverse? How do these associations vary by race, ethnicity, gender, and timing of the life course? Testing hypotheses of propinquity and the contact hypothesis, preliminary results show that growing up in more racially and ethnically diverse Census tracts during adolescence is associated with an increased likelihood of being in an interracial relationship in emerging and young adulthood. Living in a more diverse Census tract is associated with an increased likelihood of being in an interracial relationship for White men and women, Black men, and Hispanic men and women. Going to a high school that is majority White is associated with an increased likelihood of being in an interracial relationship for Black men and women, and Hispanic women.
2018 Add Health Users Conference
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