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I realize that this isn't really central to your excellent article  but the data comparison of mixed race marriages is really not worth much.

I looked it up a while back when someone posted a Todd article that made the comparison. There are several factors. First of all the comparison seems to be of total interracial marriages (US) with current marriage patterns (elsewhere) - that is obviously misleading considering the dramatic changes that have taken place, legally and in social norms over the past couple decades. (interracial marriages have gone from less than one percent of the total to over five percent, just between 1990 and 2000 the absolute number doubled from about 1.5 million to 3 million)  Secondly, choosing the single lowest minority gender/race category in the US is also misleading. Third, Sailer (your source), is referring 1990 stats, though he says he is referring to 2000 ones   - the figure doubled from 2% to 4% for black women - which also shows the way in which cumulative stats are a tad different from current rates.

This btw, shows the danger of using info from a professional racist, which is what Steve Sailer is. Anything and everything he says has to be checked and double checked, so one might as well do the research oneself. The fact that the mainstream US media routinely treats Sailer as a reliable source is more than a little disturbing.

For stats galore see
New Marriages, New Families: U.S. Racial and Hispanic Intermarriage

by MarekNYC on Sun Jan 29th, 2006 at 02:38:25 PM EST
Secondly, choosing the single lowest minority gender/race category in the US is also misleading.

I think only partially: French women of Algerian descent could also be expected to be one of the lowest minority gender/race categories.

the figure doubled from 2% to 4% for black women - which also shows the way in which cumulative stats are a tad different from current rates.

Lemme try a simple estimate: if on average, black women live 50 years after their (first) wedding, and all who died 1990-2000 had black husbands, and generations are of the same size, then that 2% rise corresponds to an average 10% "current" rate. With population growth factored in, it is much less - but the 2000 number must be above the average, so 10% can be a crude approximation.

At any rate, it is probably below the Hispanic intermarriage rate, which from your link is around that of French women of Algerian descent.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Jan 29th, 2006 at 05:41:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another data to approach the "current" rate (found in a pdf version of your link with graphs): 12% of all blacks under 30 married interracially, while in total, black men outdo black women more than twice (9.7% and 4.1%) - again a indication that the 2000 "current" rate for black women was around 10%.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jan 29th, 2006 at 06:03:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think my stats are fine. They're pretty much the best one can get from the data available. Comparing Algerians with African-Americans is the right comparison (comparing French black women would make no sense because gender imbalance would skew the data so as to make comparisons meaningless). In fact I even omitted all sorts of reasons why the discrepancy is even more amazing than I suggest. One of them is that Muslim societies are traditionally endogamous (marrying cousins is quite common in the Muslim world).

God forbid that my citation of Sailer's article be interpreted as my "endorsement" of his views. It absolutely does *not*. Thanks, Marek, for giving me a chance to clarify this. And yes you're right that one must be doubly careful.

Todd's numbers refer to "the 90s" so they should be compared with something inbetween the 2% (for 1990) or the 4% (the rate for 2000). Doesn't really make much difference. I thought of splitting the difference but I hate to make up my own numbers.

It would be great if Dodo's extrapolation about current marriage rates were correct. Maybe they are. I hope they are. But one cannot use the 2% and 4% figures in the same equation because the census methodology changed: multiracial categories were added, which some people argue provided a one-off boost.  Put differently, subtracting 2 from 4 is really subtracting apples from oranges.  

I consulted with local demographers who basically shrugged their shoulders and said with the changes in census methods "it's anyone's guess." Someone like Bill Frey would agree with your optimism. But others don't. I really have no idea.

Anyway, thanks to both of you for your comments.

by Bernard Chazelle (Bernard Chazelle) on Sun Jan 29th, 2006 at 07:30:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be great if Dodo's extrapolation about current marriage rates were correct. Maybe they are. I hope they are. But one cannot use the 2% and 4% figures in the same equation because the census methodology changed: multiracial categories were added, which some people argue provided a one-off boost.

I don't think the allowing of multi-racial self-identification had that much an influence on marriage statistics. If at all, by slightly reducing the tally: losing pairs with a white husband and with a black/white multiracial wife who in 1990 chose "black", as well as with a black wife and a black/white husband choosing "white" in 1990.

Also, my extrapolation from the under-30 figure is not affected by changes in statistics methods. So I think a mid-nineties "current" marriage rate of around 7-10% should be about correct - and still supports your contention about France being (having been in the nineties) a more effective melting pot.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Jan 30th, 2006 at 04:13:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I updated the text and the reference. Thanks for the link!
by Bernard Chazelle (Bernard Chazelle) on Mon Jan 30th, 2006 at 10:48:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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