A new study by Ryan Gabriel, a doctoral student in sociology at the University of Washington, examines residential patterns of mixed-race couples. The study analyzed data from a sample of mixed-race couples living in metropolitan areas across the country. The data showed that regardless of income level, interracial couples with one Black partner tended to live in poorer neighborhoods than White couples. The results showed that mixed-race couples with one Black partner live in neighborhoods with an average poverty level of 21 percent, compared with average rates of just 9 percent for White couples.
“Poverty is associated with conditions such as criminal activity, poor health outcomes and acute educational disadvantages,” Gabriel said. “By looking at neighborhood poverty, it allows us to see how mixed-race couples are faring in broader systems of racial stratification.”
“The gap between mixed-raced couples with White and Black partners in their exposure to poverty is striking,” said Gabriel, who presented his findings at the recent American Sociological Association’s annual meeting in Chicago. “There appears to be a poverty penalty for having a Black partner. Those who jump over the color line and decide to enter into a mixed-race union might be facing higher levels of discrimination and neighborhood poverty if they have a Black partner.”