When singles are biracial, however, they are more willing to date people of races or ethnicities different than their own, according to a recent study of biracial daters’ preferences. This study analyzed data from more than 1,200 profiles on Match.com. The average age of daters studied was 34, and the researchers looked at biracial individuals living within 50 miles of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston.
“Millennials are much more open to dating interracially, a lot of them come from interracial families,” said Allison McGrath, a PhD candidate at Vanderbilt University and one of the researchers on this study. “Biracial individuals have greater willingness to date outside their racial category,” McGrath added, but they still tend follow a triracial hierarchy where white daters have the highest status; “honorary whites,” a term coined by sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva that includes some Asians, Middle Eastern groups and other white immigrants, fall in the middle; and “collective blacks” fall at the bottom.
To further complicate matters, the study found, biracial daters who identify as part white/Caucasian will default to preferring a white partner. “For example,” the study noted, “white-Hispanics and white-other daters were less willing to state a preference to date Asians compared to their black-Hispanic counterparts.” When compared with black-Hispanics, the study found that “white-Hispanics and white-others were 7.24 and 9.77 times more likely to state a desire to date a white person, respectively.”
If a biracial dater didn’t identify as white, they were more likely to want to date someone who was partly their same race or ethnicity. “For example, black-Hispanics, black-other and black-white daters were 26.26, 10,70 and 3.44 times more willing to select an African American as a suitable romantic partner compared to Asian-white counterparts,” the researchers found. “Daters who were part black and some other race were approximately 11.80 times more likely than Asian-white daters to seek out people who had identified themselves as ‘other.'”
Noting all these preferences, the study did find that, when daters are more educated — and perhaps exposed to more diversity in a collegiate atmosphere — they became more willing to date outside their race or ethnicity. Since the study measured only daters’ stated preferences in their Match.com profiles, the researchers cautioned that “individuals’ attitudes may not predict their actual behaviors.” The next step, McGrath says, is to examine whether there’s any variation between daters’ stated preferences and behavior.