Interracial Couples Invest More In Kids

Robin Lloyd, LiveScience, April 23, 2007

Parents who are of different races, such as a white father and an Asian-American mother, spend more time and money on their kids than parents who are both of the same race, new research shows.

So-called biracial (aka interracial or multiracial) parents are more likely than their “monoracial” counterparts to provide their children with a home computer, private schooling and educational books and CDs and to make sure they participate in reading activities, dance, music or art lessons outside of school and get trips to the zoo, library and other cultural venues.

The “biracial advantage” only holds for comparisons with same-race couples from the two racial groups represented by the parentsfor instance, if a Latino and white couple is compared with a Latino-Latino couple or a white-white couple. The finding disappears if all biracial couples, regardless of racial pairing, are compared with the entire pool of same-race couples (combining all couples that are white-white, black-black, Latino-Latino and so forth).

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The number of biracial couples has since more than tripled, yet many couples still face disapproval and prejudice, Powell said.

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The study, detailed in the American Journal of Sociology, examined data collected in 19981999 as part of a large national survey of U.S. families, with a focus on those with kindergarteners. A total of 1,599 couples were part of the new analysis.

Powell and his colleague Simon Cheng at the University of Connecticut found one exception to the “biracial advantage.” Black father/white mother families tend to invest fewer resources into kids than do black monoracial couples and white monoracial couples.

This could be because families in which one of the parents is black likely experience greater prejudice and disapproval from their extended families than do non-black interracial couples, Powell and Cheng wrote. Also, there seem to be greater social challenges faced by couples in which a non-white man is involved with a white woman, they wrote.

The study also highlighted the great variation in U.S. biracial couples. Couples with one black parent and one white parent made up the smallest setjust 143 couples, compared to 601 in which one parent was Latino and the other white. There were 174 white and Asian couples and 191 couples who were white and “other,” which referred to Native Americans among others.

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