Yancey says that whites might interdate less because they are a numerical majority within American society.
And he adds that whites are also more likely to be racially isolated than people of color—a notion sociologists lump under the term "propinquity," which describes the tendency for people to work better or bond with those geographically near them.
Since interracial dating (or "interdating") and interracial marriage were outlawed or ostracized for so long in U. history, many sociologists see the incidence of these relationships as a key indicator of the state of U. "Many people who are honestly accepting of equal treatment across a wide range of social interaction would finally draw the line when it came to [a romantic relationship] between the race groups," says Smith. "We are seeing declining levels of objection to interracial marriage," says Smith.
Neither the Roper Report nor the General Social Survey specifically queried respondents on their attitudes or practices concerning interracial dating.
While Yancey studied interdating habits among adults, the future of interdating can perhaps best be understood by studying the activities and attitudes of teenagers. A 1997 Gallup national survey of people ages 13 to 19—found that nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of black, Hispanic, or Asian teens who had ever dated and who attended schools with students of more than one race said they had dated someone who was white.
Younger people have historically been more open to racial integration and more positive about race relations than older people, according to Jack Ludwig, senior research director at the Gallup Poll in Princeton, N. (This poll is the latest comprehensive survey of U. teens on the topic of interracial dating.) Consistent with Yancey's findings for adults, only 17 percent of white students who had dated and attended integrated schools in this survey had dated a black person, while 33 percent had dated a Hispanic person and 15 percent had dated an Asian.
Among students who had dated interracially, at least 90 percent each of white, Hispanic, or Asian students said their parents acquiesced to their relationship.
"Chances are, if you're a person of color, you're more likely to be exposed to European Americans than vice versa." However, his analysis also found that neither living in an integrated neighborhood nor attending an integrated place of worship boosted people's interdating rates as much as attending an integrated school. adults, 86 percent of people ages 18 to 29 approved of marriage between blacks and whites, but just 30 percent of those ages 65 and older approved of such marriages.
(June 2005) As the United States population becomes ever more diverse, are more people dating across race lines? married couples that are interracial nearly doubled from 2.9 percent to 5.4 percent between 19, to a total of more than 3 million.
The question isn't simply a matter of whom you'll be going out with on Saturday night. Indeed, despite its increasing depiction in the media, interracial romance is still America's "last taboo," according to Tom Smith, director of the General Social Survey at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. And recent surveys reveal that American attitudes toward intermarriage have also steadily improved: While 70 percent of adults in 1986 said they approved of interracial marriage, that figure had climbed to 83 percent by 2003, according to a Roper Reports study.
For instance, 72 percent of teens surveyed thought people dated people of other races because they cared about the other person, while less than 20 percent thought their peers interdated as a rebellion against parents or as an attempt to "be cool." Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of white students who had not dated interracially said they would consider dating someone who was not white, while 58 percent of black students would consider dating a nonblack.
But the Gallup survey also found that teens thought some interracial couples—always involving a black partner—faced potentially greater friction from their respective racial and ethnic groups about their relationships.