Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. Gender asymmetry in mixed-race heterosexual partnerships and marriages is common. For instance, black men marry or partner with white women at a far higher rate than white men marry or partner with black women. This article asks if such gender asymmetries relate to the racial character of the neighborhoods in which households headed by mixed-race couples live.
Gendered power imbalances within households generally play into decisions about where to live or where to move i. Gender interacts with race to produce a measurable race-by-gender effect.
Specifically, we report a positive relationship between the percentage white in a neighborhood and the presence of households headed by mixed-race couples with a white male partner. The opposite holds for households headed by white-blacks and white-Latinos if the female partner is white; they are drawn to predominantly nonwhite neighborhoods. The have implications for investigations of residential location attainment, neighborhood segregation analysis, and mixed-race studies.
Some of the most striking aspects of racial mixing in the United States are the gender asymmetries associated with heterosexual mixed-race partnerships. Asian women and white men are much more likely to marry or partner than Asian men and white women, for example. In contrast, the incidence of black men being married to or partnered with white women is far more likely than the reverse. To complicate things further, marriage and partnership between a Latina and a white 1 man is roughly the same as the likelihood of a marriage or partnership between a white woman and a Latino cf.
Passel et al. These configurations originate in the complex intersections of race and gender. Interpretations of these patterns range widely across a palette of theories, ontologies, and methodologies, but no researcher, as far as we are aware, has asked whether the gender asymmetries in mixed-race partnering have spatial expressions.
This study takes an interest in these geographies and to this general question: do the gendered patterns of households headed by mixed-race couples in the United States have distinctive cartographies at the neighborhood level? Specifically, is the racial composition of neighborhoods in which mixed-race couples live contingent on gender?
The fact of gender asymmetry in racially mixed couples is plain to see, yet the issue of how to translate the effect of entrenched gender relations in particular types of mixed-race partnerships to space is challenging. Such a project has to wrestle with the unresolved debate over the forces that produce such asymmetries as well as face up to the form and fluidity of U. It also has to fold all this into the mix of household mobility and location as well as the geographical scale of analysis.
Accordingly, we confine the empirical ambitions of this study to an examination of the neighborhood residential patterns of a sample of heterosexual mixed-race couples taken from 12 large U. These places contain a considerable share of all mixed-race couples in the country and consequently have sufficient s of the most frequently observed types of such partnerships for analysis at the census tract scale.
Restricted Census long-form data furnish the necessary fine-grained information needed for the investigation. In terms of theory, scholars usually understand the racial geography of urban residential spaces by relying on theories of spatial assimilation, place stratification, or a combination of both.
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Most studies drawing on these approaches focus on individuals or households. When households become the object of analysis, such research time and again conceives of them as monoracial; differences within the household have not been the immediate concern of researchers trying to White men looking for black women in atlanta the mechanics of residential sorting or other social processes exceptions include Ellis et al. When considering the neighborhood locations of households headed by racially mixed couples, however, the issue of gender asymmetry in such units places the question of how gender interacts with race in residential processes squarely in the spotlight.
Viewing the dynamics of mixed-race household residential location through the lens of race, in fact, sharpens the focus on the effects of gender. Whites, when faced with a choice, opt for white neighborhoods over other areas that are more racially mixed e.
In making the interaction of gender and race the center of attention, we instead want to answer the question, Does the gender of the non white person in white-nonwhite couples affect the likelihood of living in white neighborhoods? Although most residential attainment studies imagine neighborhood location in terms of community types defined by the presence or share of only one race group—either whites or a specific nonwhite group—a small body of research suggests an alternative perspective in which households headed by racially mixed couples are attracted to racially mixed neighborhoods e.
Consequently, we also extend this line of thought by inquiring whether such a tendency depends on the gender of the non white person in the relationship. Gender asymmetry in mixed-race couples requires us to consider the ways in which both race and gender condition the residential dynamics of mixed-race couples. As most locational attainment research uses spatial assimilation and place stratification theoretical frameworks—indeed, many are posed as a test of the relative merits of the two perspectives—we try to work out the extent to which these theories allow us to 1 anticipate the presence of a gendered race effect and 2 anticipate the direction of such an effect.
To develop the conceptual foundations of our study, we also take note of the trailing spouse migration literature and related research on gendered commuting to argue that the locational attainment of racially mixed couples must take into domestic gender regimes. It builds on some initial descriptive findings and reports on a series of residential attainment models for these households where the race of the fe male partner becomes the object of analysis in explaining neighborhood outcomes. Households headed by mixed-race couples tend to reside in racially diverse neighborhoods.
Ethnographies of households headed by black and white partners attest that the attraction of such places is strong because many such households feel less comfortable in predominantly white neighborhoods as well as predominantly black communities Dalmage Census-based scholarship confirms these findings. Holloway et al. Wright et al. Adding controls for socioeconomic status SES and neighborhood racial structure reveals that black-white couples are drawn to diversity no matter which racialized group forms the majority in the neighborhood.
This result contrasts with the patterns that they reported for households headed by black couples diversity acts as a draw only when they enter spaces comprising many whites or Asians and white couples neighborhood diversity is important when they reside White men looking for black women in atlanta neighborhoods with many blacks or Latinos.
Marriage to white spouses affected neighborhood location for some Latino and black native-born and immigrant groups. With various controls in place, nonwhite householders partnered with whites were more likely to reside in higher-status neighborhoods than those partnered within group. In contrast, marriage to someone not white led to residence in lower-status neighborhoods. Their suggestion that status-caste exchange might be part of the answer points to a more general consideration of gender asymmetries and mixed household neighborhood locations.
The reference to discrimination in housing searches also als their suspicion that race plays a role in racially mixed household residential attainment. The next section considers the causes of gender asymmetries in mixed-race partnering. We then reconcile that discussion with theories of residential attainment to frame our analysis. Status-caste exchange White men looking for black women in atlanta forms part of the debate surrounding the asymmetrical gender patterns of mixed-race partnerships in the United States e. This theory advances that minorities trade off socioeconomic resources against the social disadvantages of their racialization Jacobs and Labov In mid-twentieth century U.
Critics of this approach observe that 1 black women are more educated than black men, yet it is black men who marry out at a far higher rate than black women Belot and Fidrmuc ; Moranand 2 few differences appear in the educational attainment of black men who partner with nonblack women Qian and Lichter ; Rosenfeld In economics, related Becker-type marriage-market theories Becker also do not withstand close scrutiny Fryer Love, attraction, solidarities, and personal choice find little place in these approaches, yet these are the very forces that scholars working ethnographically find compelling Root ; Spickard From another perspective, related research highlights the prevalence of sexualized images that portray, for instance, black and Asian men and women very differently.
These cultural productions and associated societal norms generate the asymmetries that we witness in mixed-race partnering Moran ; Nagel White men looking for black women in atlanta American—white gender asymmetries also grow from cultural roots. Taken together, these racialized sexualities shape Asian-white heterosexual partner asymmetry Moran New research in behavioral economics also attends to physicality but in ways that can be tested via a formal hypothesis. Belot and Fidrmuc showed again that SES variables poorly predict gender asymmetries but that other data—specifically, height distributions—provide far more powerful predictors.
The simple but widespread preference found in studies of dating—that males should be taller than their female partners—interacts with race blacks being taller, on average, than Asians to explain differential partnership rates with whites by gender. Relative partner height has nothing immediately to do with neighborhood location, but this finding is important.
Changing demographics via immigration and differential fertility along with changing social norms about racial mixing may enhance e. And what of these other arguments about racialization or assimilation? How might they speak to gendered race effects within mixed partnerships and fold into residential attainment theory? Insight on the processes that produce segregated and diverse residential spaces usually pivots on spatial assimilation SA and place stratification PS for a thorough review, see Charles ; see also Alba et al.
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SA holds that increases in income, occupational status, and English-language ability over time and across generations produces a spatial diffusion of immigrants from neighborhoods of initial settlement into areas that were ly the exclusive domain of the native born. Shifted from immigrant worlds into the context of ethnic and racial minority populations, it hitches individual social mobility to spatial mobility, linking them to ecological outcomes, often specified as contact with whites or Anglos Gross and Massey Racialization features more prominently in stratification models, the bedrock of which reposes on the assessment of the degree to which racialized individuals or households become sorted by neighborhood, taking into their skills and education.
It reveals the limits some people face in converting their socioeconomic standing into similar neighborhood locations compared with others who are not subject to the same racial gaze. Charles concluded that a SA framework performs better at describing the residential mobility of white Latinos and Asians; the PS schema best captures the neighborhood dynamics of blacks and black Latinos Almost all residential-attainment modeling studies adopt the perspective of the unitary household—single-race individuals and households, or households undifferentiated by the gender of the racialized partners Agarwal So how do these theories apply when a minority White men looking for black women in atlanta partnered to a white person?
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Does it matter whether the white person in that mixed-race relationship is a woman or a man? To illustrate, households headed by black-white couples tend to locate in relatively racially diverse neighborhoods, more white than single-race black households but not as white as single-race white households Holloway et al.
Changing perspective from group outcomes to household-level outcomes, SA would forecast that, say, a black-white mixed-race household should equally be able to convert SES resources into improved residential circumstances regardless of whether the white partner is male or female.
We can leverage the studies of migration decision-making and axes of power in the household, however, to extract a perspective on gender from assimilation theory. Similarly, the research on household location, work, and commuting often asks questions, directly or indirectly, about household gender regimes Hanson and Pratt ; Rapino and Cooke ; Timmermans et al. Many such studies document the subordination of women, and these findings overlap with processes of intra-urban mobility, residential location, and, by extension, neighborhood residential segregation.
We therefore seek to link gender asymmetries in heterosexual mixed-race partnerships and neighborhood location to the recurrent theme in the scholarship on family dynamics associated with the power asymmetries that favor husbands over wives in decision making Zipp et al.
Gender and the neighborhood location of mixed-race couples
Here is how gendered power asymmetries play out within an assimilation-type framework. This discussion of acculturation and assimilation drifts into the realm of PS, which Charles suggested is more appropriate for people who are phenotypically most obviously not white. Racial stratification offers two alternative perspectives on the residential location of households headed by mixed-race couples.
Bonilla-Silva The literature offers evidence of such racialization by association. For example, Haslanger, who is white, has a son who is much darker. Thus, racially mixed families may seek neighborhoods where neither group is dominant and locate in racially diverse neighborhoods irrespective of the gender of the nonwhite partner.