The Intersectionality of Race and Gender in Relationship Involvement among Young Adults in the United States: Are Asian American Men an Exceptional Case?

Kara Joyner, Bowling Green State University
Kelly Balistreri, Bowling Green State University
Grace Kao, University of Pennsylvania

Previous research oversimplifies the racial and gender gaps in relationship involvement by focusing on different-sex co-residential relationships. We use data from the first and fourth waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) to examine differences by gender and race/ethnicity in relationship among young adults. Add Health includes oversamples of some minorities, and Wave IV collected information on current and prior romantic and sexual relationships, regardless whether the partners cohabited or married. We document racial gaps in marriage but reveal how they diminish when the current definition of relationship is broadened to encompass sexual or romantic involvement. Asian men differ dramatically from white men in both current romantic/sexual involvement but also marriage, and they are the least likely of any group (e.g., black women) to be partnered. Our goal is to determine whether race gaps in relationship involvement are due more to preferences or constraints.

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Presented in Session 200: Intersections of Race/Ethnicity and Gender