Group Size May Determine the Likelihood of Interracial Friendships

A newmichigan-logo study by researchers at the University of Michigan finds that interracial friendships are less likely to form when there is a large group than in instances where there is only a small group. In a study of more than 4,700 high school students, the researchers found school size had a major impact on the likelihood of interracial friendships.

“Large schools promote racial segregation and discourage interracial friendships,” states Yu Xie, a sociologist at the university and a co-author of the study. The researchers found that when the size of the social group is small, people have a low likelihood of finding a same-race friend that matches their other preferences. But as the total size of the group increases, people are more likely to find same-race friends who also satisfy their other preferences.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The article may be accessed here.


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  1. Adelaide Solomon-Jordan says:

    This is very interesting. I am interested in what the likelihood of this occurring when the balance between the black-white racial groups is largely black.

    Living in western Maine where it is an overwhelmingly white student group means for a black student to have any friends one will have white friends. Many, if not most of the students who are “black” are bi-racial by birth and more often than not self identify as black. They are also identified as black.

    We have major, major problems of racism including a DOE complaint not complied with by the school district. Elementary students use the word “colored” because it is what they hear at home. I must say it is never said in a derogatory way, except for the historical reality of the word. The “n” word is also spoken. It feels very 1950 living here.

    Currently, one white male is walking around with six weeks of jaw wiring after being struck by another white student who took offense to twitter comments (#notinmyschool) made by the jaw wired student. Adults in the school community seem handicapped and reluctant to do more than band-aide racism. There is an avoidance to addressing the reality of a school culture of racism.

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