Book

The Company We Keep: Interracial Friendships and Romantic Relationships from Adolescence to Adulthood

Cover of the book titled "The Company We Keep."

Grace Kao, the IBM Professor of Sociology; Kara Joyner, professor of sociology at Bowling Green State University; and Kelly Stamper Balistreri, associate professor of sociology at Bowling Green State University

(Russell Sage Foundation)

In “The Company We Keep,” sociologists Grace Kao, Kara Joyner, and Kelly Stamper Balistreri examine how race, gender, socioeconomic status, and other factors affect the formation of interracial friendships and romantic relationships among youth. They highlight two factors that increase the likelihood of interracial romantic relationships in young adulthood: attending a diverse school and having an interracial friendship or romance in adolescence.

While research on interracial social ties has often focused on whites and blacks, Hispanics are the largest minority group and Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial group in the United States. This book examines friendships and romantic relationships among blacks, whites, Hispanics, and Asian Americans to better understand the full spectrum of contemporary race relations. The authors explore the social ties of more than 15,000 individuals from their first survey responses as middle and high school students in the mid-1990s through young adulthood nearly 15 years later.

They find that while approval for interracial marriages has increased and is nearly universal among young people, interracial friendships and romantic relationships remain relatively rare, especially for whites and blacks.

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