Racial preferences in dating in may 2016
In a new paper, my colleagues — Ashton Anderson, Greg Huber, Neil Malhotra, and Duncan Watts — and I investigate how these racial preferences relate to political attitudes.
In short, are political conservatives more likely than liberals to prefer partners of their own race?
 See, for example, What Makes You Click: Mate Preferences in Online Dating by Hitsch, Hortaçsu, and Ariely.
Quartz and Ok Cupid also examined racial preferences in online dating, as reported by NPR.
Strikingly, even among political moderates, the majority (52%) of white women declare at least a weak (“nice to have”) preference to date someone of their own race.
The long-term annual growth in newlyweds marrying someone of a different race or ethnicity has led to dramatic increases in the overall number of people who are presently intermarried – including both those who recently married and those who did so years, or even decades, earlier.
In 2015, that number stood at 11 million – 10% of all married people.
One worry with relying on stated preferences is that they may not accurately reflect one’s true preferences.
Liberals, for example, may feel guilty about explicitly declaring they prefer a partner of the same race; and men perhaps simply don’t want to preemptively narrow the pool of candidates.Key for our analysis, members also declared which attributes they would prefer to see in a potential mate, as well as the strength of that preference on a three-point scale: “no preference”, “nice to have”, or “must have”.