Thursday, November 22, 2007

Which ethnic group has the classiest tastes? There are all kinds of good music, but you must admit that there are only three kinds that we would call really classy: classical, opera, and jazz. So who likes these types of music the most? The General Social Survey asked almost 1,200 Americans about their musical preferences. Answers ranged from "like it very much" (1) to "dislike it very much" (5). I calculated the means for ethnic groups with at least 30 respondents, and subtracted them from 5 so that higher scores indicate more preference for the music:

Mean classical music score

Scottish 2.77
Jewish 2.65
Polish 2.53
English/Welsh 2.52

USA 2.43

Italian 2.41
Irish 2.32
Dutch 2.39
German 2.32
Black 2.12
Amerindian 1.87

Mean opera score

Polish 1.86
Scots 1.83
Italian 1.74
English/Welsh 1.61
Dutch 1.58
Jewish 1.58

USA 1.57

Black 1.55
German 1.46
Irish 1.41
Amerindian 1.31

Mean jazz score

Black 3.05
Jewish 3.00
Polish 2.63

USA 2.44

English/Welsh 2.41
Irish 2.40
Italian 2.38
German 2.29
Scots 2.24
Amerindian 2.19
Dutch 2.00

Not surprisingly, Blacks like climb to the top of the list for jazz, and Italian Americans move up for opera. But overall, Polish Americans are at the top. Jews aren't too crazy about opera, and people of Scottish descent like classical and opera but not jazz. Amerindians don't dig any of it.

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