Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Journal Article
Title Can Differences in Partner Availability Explain Differences in Interracial/Ethnic Matching between Same-and Different-Sex Couples?
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2010
URL http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=
Previous research has found that same-sex couples are more likely to be in interracial/ethnic
partnerships than are different-sex couples. Drawing on search theory, we evaluate the
plausibility of a common explanation for the higher likelihood of interracial/ethnic partnership
among same-sex couples—that those seeking same-sex partners must widen their search because
of the smaller pool of available partners. We use data from the 1990 and 2000 U.S. censuses and
the 2005-7 American Community Survey to compare patterns of interracial/ethnic partnership
among same-sex male cohabiting couples, same-sex female cohabiting couples, different-sex
cohabiting couples, and different-sex married couples. We present multiple pieces of evidence
that raise doubts about the availability hypothesis. Most of our measures indicate that in times
and places where the availability of same-sex partners is greater, same-sex couples are more
likely to be interracial/ethnic, a result opposite of what the availability hypothesis would predict.
Our findings suggest the plausibility of other explanations for differences in interracial/ethnic
matching between same- and different-sex couples, such as differences in preferences for
partners, differences in the venues in which those seeking same- and different-sex partners meet,
and differences in pressure from friends and family to form endogamous unions.

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