Racial homophily and exclusion in online dating preferences: a cross-national comparison

Gina Potarca, University of Groningen
Melinda Mills, University of Groningen

Although finding a partner online has surged, there is limited knowledge about the characteristics and preferences of individuals. In particular, racial background is a strong determinant of partner selection and a barometer of race relations. The aim of this study is to extend existing research on interracial unions by examining racial homophily and exclusion in online dating preferences across 9 European countries. We analyze data from 9 countries (Germany, The Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Italy, Spain, France, and Poland) (N= 100,817), distinguishing between majority- (i.e., European) and minority-status racial group members (i.e., Arabic, African, Asian, and Hispanic). A series of multilevel logistic regression analyses reveal that race and education remain robust predictors of partner choices, while structural factors such as relative group size, group-specific sex-ratio and racial diversity in regional marriage markets also play a considerable role. The larger the sizes of their own group, the more likely minority members are to have same-race preferences or to exclude other racial groups. Users living in racially heterogeneous regions have lower levels of racial homophily and exclusion of Europeans, Hispanics or Asians. Regions with strong anti-immigrant attitudes are associated with higher levels of exclusion of all minority racial groups.

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Presented in Session 70: Assortative mating: Trends, causes, and consequences