David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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This paper looks at changes in social distance / proximity of white Americans from minority racial groups in America. Its contribution lies in its utilization of robust Census data on inter-racial marriages over four periods to draw conclusions instead of survey data from subjective sources on the intensity of relationships. It distinguishes between white assimilation from a race, which is based on the probability of close social contact of a white person with a member of a minority race (in this case measured by the proportion of white marriages that involve a partner from that minority race) and social proximity (which measures how far the probability of contact is over or under-representative of that racial group's share in the total population). A gender distinction is also identified in behaviour regarding assimilation and proximity. With regard to white males, among the three major minority racial groups (Asians, Blacks and Native Americans) Asian females were the most assimilated group throughout the period, 1960 - 2000, and increased their lead over the others in this period. Black females, however, lost their second place to Native Americans over this period. In the case of white females, Blacks (males) were the most assimilated race in the period, 1960-2000, whereas Asians were able to just inch ahead of Native Americans. The rankings of social proximity of white males to females of different races do not change over time with Asian females being the most proximate followed by Native Americans and then far behind by Blacks. For female whites, the rankings again are constant over time with Native Americans being the most proximate followed by Asians and then by Blacks. It is also found that only Asian women are getting significantly more socially proximate to white men over time whereas other race-gender combinations do not exhibit that tendency towards whites of the opposite sex. There is also a significantly positive correlation between economic proximity and social proximity to different minority races in the case of white males but no such correlation exists for white females.
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